(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The complete works of Mark Twain"

SKETCHES 
NEW AND OLD 




"Some Flies, Daniel, Some Flies 



AUTHORIZED EDITION 

The Complete Works of 

MARK 
TWAIN 



SKETCHES 
NEW AND OLD 




uoooouoo Vfvl^ATicE^vv-. y / oooooooo 



HARPER AND BROTHERS 
NEW YORK 



SKETCHES 

Copyright, 1875, by SAMUEL L. CLEMENS 

Copyright, 1899 and 1903, by SAMUEL L. CLEMENS 

Copyright, 1917, by CLARA GABRILOWITSCH 

Printed in the United States of America 
I-D 



/ 



CONTENTS 



I 

I 

I 



PAQB 

PREFACE xiii 

MY WATCH i 

POLITICAL ECONOMY 6 

THE JUMPING FROG 15 

JOURNALISM IN TENNESSEE 35 

THE STORY OF THE BAD LITTLE BOY 44 

THE STORY OF THE GOOD LITTLE BOY 49 

A COUPLE OF POEMS BY TWAIN AND MOORE 56 

NIAGARA 58 

ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS 68 

To RAISE POULTRY 81 

EXPERIENCE OF THE MCWILLIAMSES WITH MEMBRANOUS 

CROUP 85 

MY FIRST LITERARY VENTURE , . . . 95 

How THE AUTHOR WAS SOLD IN NEWARK 99 

THE OFFICE BORE 102 

JOHNNY GREER 105 

THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF THE GREAT BEEF CONTRACT . 106 

THE CASE OF GEORGE FISHER 116 

DISGRACEFUL PERSECUTION OF A BOY 126 

THE JUDGE'S "SPIRITED WOMAN" 131 

INFORMATION WANTED 134 

SOME LEARNED FABLES, FOR GOOD OLD BOYS AND GIRLS 137 

MY LATE SENATORIAL SECRETARYSHIP 168 

A FASHION ITEM 175 

RDLEY NEWSPAPER CORRESPONDENT 177 

A FINE OLD MAN 183 

SCIENCE vs. LUCK 184 

THE LATE BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 188 

MR. BLOKE'S ITEM 193 



CONTENTS 

PAGB 

A MEDIEVAL ROMANCE 198 

PETITION CONCERNING COPYRIGHT 208 

AFTER-DINNER SPEECH 210 

LIONIZING MURDERERS 214 

A NEW CRIME 220 

A CURIOUS DREAM 227 

A TRUE STORY 240 

THE SIAMESE TWINS 248 

SPEECH AT THE SCOTTISH BANQUET IN LONDON .... 254 

A GHOST STORY 257 

THE CAPITOLINE VENUS 266 

SPEECH ON ACCIDENT INSURANCE 274 

JOHN CHINAMAN IN NEW YORK 277 

How I EDITED AN AGRICULTURAL PAPER 280 

THE PETRIFIED MAN 288 

MY BLOODY MASSACRE 293 

THE UNDERTAKER'S CHAT 298 

CONCERNING CHAMBERMAIDS 302 

AURELIA'S UNFORTUNATE YOUNG MAN 305 

"AFTER" JENKINS 310 

ABOUT BARBERS 312 

"PARTY CRIES" IN IRELAND 318 

THE FACTS CONCERNING THE RECENT RESIGNATION . . . 320 

HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF 330 

HONORED AS A CURIOSITY 332 

FIRST INTERVIEW WITH ARTEMUS WARD 334 

CANNIBALISM IN THE CARS 339 

THE KILLING OF JULIUS CAESAR "LOCALIZED" 352 

THE WIDOW'S PROTEST 357 

THE SCRIPTURAL PANORAMIST 359 

CURING A COLD 363 

A CURIOUS PLEASURE EXCURSION 370 

RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR 377 

A MYSTERIOUS VISIT 384 



PREFACE 

I HAVE scattered through this volume a mass of 
matter which has never been in print before (such 
as "Learned Fables for Good Old Boys and Girls," 
the "Jumping Frog restored to the English tongue 
after martyrdom in the French," the "Membranous 
Croup" sketch, and many others which I need not 
specify) : not doing this in order to make an adver- 
tisement of it, but because these things seemed 

instructive. 

MARK TWAIN. 
HARTFORD, 1875. 



SKETCHES NEW AND OLD 



SKETCHES NEW AND OLD 

MY WATCH 1 

AN INSTRUCTIVE LITTLE TALB 

MY beautiful new watch had run eighteen months 
without losing or gaining, and without break- 
ing any part of its machinery or stopping. I had 
come to believe it infallible in its judgments about 
the time of day, and to consider its constitution and 
its anatomy imperishable. But at last, one night, I 
let it run down. I grieved about it as if it were a 
recognized messenger and forerunner of calamity. 
But by and by I cheered up, set the watch by guess, 
and commanded my bodings and superstitions to 
depart. Next day I stepped into the chief jeweler's 
to set it by the exact time, and the head of the 
establishment took it out of my hand and proceeded 
to set it for me. Then he said, "She is four min- 
utes slow regulator wants pushing up." I tried to 
stop him tried to make him understand that the 
watch kept perfect time. But no; all this human 
cabbage could see was that the watch was four min- 

1 Written about 1870. 



MARK TWAIN 

utes slow, and the regulator must be pushed up a 
little; and so, while I danced around him in anguish, 
and implored him to let the watch alone, he calmly 
and cruelly did the shameful deed. My watch began 
to gain. It gained faster and faster day by day. 
Within the week it sickened to a raging fever, and 
its pulse went up to a hundred and fifty in the shade. 
At the end of two months it had left all the time- 
pieces of the town far in the rear, and was a fraction 
over thirteen days ahead of the almanac. It was 
away into November enjoying the snow, while the 
October leaves were still turning. It hurried up 
house rent, bills payable, and such things, in such a 
ruinous way that I could not abide it. I took it to 
the watchmaker to be regulated. He asked me if I 
had ever had it repaired. I said no, it had never 
needed any repairing. He looked a look of vicious 
happiness and eagerly pried the watch open, and then 
put a small dice-box into his eye and peered into its 
machinery. He said it wanted cleaning and oiling, 
besides regulating come in a week. After being 
cleaned and oiled, and regulated, my watch slowed 
down to that degree that it ticked like a tolling bell. 
I began to be left by trains, I failed all appointments, 
I got to missing my dinner; my watch strung out 
three days' grace to four and let me go to protest; 
I gradually drifted back into yesterday, then day 
before, then into last week, and by and by the com- 
prehension came upon me that all solitary and alone 
I was lingering along in week before last, and the 
world was out of sight. I seemed to detect in myself 
a sort of sneaking fellow-feeling for the mummy in 



MY WATCH 

the museum, and a desire to swap news with him. 
I went to a watchmaker again. He took the watch 
all to pieces while I waited, and then said the barrel 
was "swelled." He said he could reduce it in three 
days. After this the watch averaged well, but noth- 
ing more. For half a day it would go like the very 
mischief, and keep up such a barking and wheezing 
and whooping and sneezing and snorting, that I could 
not hear myself think for the disturbance ; and as long 
as it held out there was not a watch in the land 
that stood any chance against it. But the rest of 
the day it would keep on slowing down and fooling 
along until all the clocks it had left behind caught 
up again. So at last, at the end of twenty-four 
hours, it would trot up to the judges' stand all right 
and just in time. It would show a fair and square 
average, and no man could say it had done more or 
less than its duty. But a correct average is only a 
mild virtue in a watch, and I took this instrument to 
another watchmaker. He said the king-bolt was 
broken. I said I was glad it was nothing more 
serious. To tell the plain truth, I had no idea what 
the king-bolt was, but I did not choose to appear igno- 
rant to a stranger. He repaired the king-bolt, but 
what the watch gained in one way it lost in another. 
It would run awhile and then stop awhile, and then 
run awhile again, and so on, using its own discretion 
about the intervals. And every time it went off it 
kicked back like a musket. I padded my breast for 
a few days, but finally took the watch to another 
watchmaker. He picked it all to pieces, and turned 
the ruin over and over under his glass; and then he 

3 



MARK TWAIN 

said there appeared to be something the matter with 
the hair-trigger. He fixed it, and gave it a fresh 
start. It did well now, except that always at ten 
minutes to ten the hands would shut together like a 
pair of scissors, and from that time forth they would 
travel together. The oldest man in the world could 
not make head or tail of the time of day by such a 
watch, and so I went again to have the thing re- 
paired. This person said that the crystal had got 
bent, and that the mainspring was not straight. He 
also remarked that part of the works needed half- 
soling. He made these things all right, and then 
my timepiece performed unexceptionably, save that 
now and then, after working along quietly for nearly 
eight hours, everything inside would let go all of a 
sudden and begin to buzz like a bee, and the hands 
would straightway begin to spin round and round so 
fast that their individuality was lost completely, and 
they simply seemed a delicate spider's web over the 
face of the watch. She would reel off the next 
twenty-four hours in six or seven minutes, and then 
stop with a bang. I went with a heavy heart to one 
more watchmaker, and looked on while he took her 
to pieces. Then I prepared to cross-question him 
rigidly, for this thing was getting serious. The watch 
had cost two hundred dollars originally, and I 
seemed to have paid out two or three thousand for 
repairs. While I waited and looked on I presently 
recognized in this watchmaker an old acquaintance 
a steamboat engineer of other days, and not a 
good engineer, either. He examined all the parts 
carefully, just as the other watchmakers had done, 

4 



MY WATCH 

and then delivered his verdict with the same con- 
fidence of manner. 

He said: 

"She makes too much steam you want to hang 
the monkey-wrench on the safety-valve!" 

I brained him on the spot, and had him buried at 
my own expense. 

My uncle William (now deceased, alas!) used to 
say that a good horse was a good horse until it had 
run away once, and that a good watch was a good 
watch until the repairers got a chance at it. And 
he used to wonder what became of all the unsuc- 
cessful tinkers, and gunsmiths, and shoemakers, and 
engineers, and blacksmiths; but nobody could ever 
tell him. 



POLITICAL ECONOMY 1 

OOLITICAL Economy is the basis of all good government. 
1 The wisest men of all ages have brought to bear upon this 
subject the 

[Here I was interrupted and informed that a 
stranger wished to see me down at the door. I went 
and confronted him, and asked to know his business, 
struggling all the time to keep a tight rein on my 
seething political-economy ideas, and not let them 
break away from me or get tangled in their harness. 
And privately I wished the stranger was in the 
bottom of the canal with a cargo of wheat on top of 
him. I was all in a fever, but he was cool. He said 
he was sorry to disturb me, but as he was passing 
he noticed that I needed some lightning-rods. I 
said, "Yes, yes go on what about it?" He said 
there was nothing about it, in particular nothing 
except that he would like to put them up for me. I 
am new to housekeeping; have been used to hotels 
and boarding-houses all my life. Like anybody else 
of similar experience, I try to appear (to strangers) 
to be an old housekeeper; consequently I said in an 
offhand way that I had been intending for some 
time to have six or eight lightning-rods put up, but 
The stranger started, and looked inquiringly at me, 

1 Written about 1870. 
6 



POLITICAL ECONOMY 

but I was serene. I thought that if I chanced to 
make any mistakes, he would not catch me by my 
countenance. He said he would rather have my 
custom than any man's in town. I said, "All right," 
and started off to wrestle with my great subject 
again, when he called me back and said it would be 
necessary to know exactly how many "points" I 
wanted put up, what parts of the house I wanted 
them on, and what quality of rod I preferred. It 
was close quarters for a man not used to the exigen- 
cies of housekeeping; but I went through creditably, 
and he probably never suspected that I was a novice. 
I told him to put up eight "points," and put them 
all on the roof, and use the best quality of rod. He 
said he could furnish the "plain" article at 20 cents 
a foot; "coppered," 25 cents; "zinc-plated spiral- 
twist," at 30 cents, that would stop a streak of 
lightning any time, no matter where it was bound, 
and "render its errand harmless and its further 
progress apocryphal." I said apocryphal was no 
slouch of a word, emanating from the source it did, 
but, philology aside, I liked the spiral-twist and 
would take that brand. Then he said he could make 
two hundred and fifty feet answer; but to do it 
right, and make the best job in town of it, and 
attract the admiration of the just and the unjust 
alike, and compel all parties to say they never saw 
a more symmetrical and hypothetical display of 
lightning-rods since they were born, he supposed 
he really couldn't get along without four hundred, 
though he was not vindictive, and trusted he was 
willing to try. I said, go ahead and use four hun- 

7 



MARK TWAIN 

dred, and make any kind of a job he pleased out of 
it, but let me get back to my work. So I got rid 
of him at last; and now, after half an hour spent in 
getting my train of political-economy thoughts cou- 
pled together again, I am ready to go on once more.] 

richest treasures of their genius, their experience of life, and theii 
learning. The great lights of commercial jurisprudence, inter- 
national confraternity, and biological deviation, of all ages, aQ 
civilizations, and all nationalities, from Zoroaster down to 
Horace Greeley, have 

[Here I was interrupted again, and required to go 
down and confer further with that lightning-rod 
man. I hurried off, boiling and surging with pro- 
digious thoughts wombed in words of such majesty 
that each One of them was in itself a straggling pro- 
cession of syllables that might be fifteen minutes 
passing a given point, and once more I confronted 
him he so calm and sweet, I so hot and frenzied. 
He was standing in the contemplative attitude of 
the Colossus of Rhodes, with one foot on my infant 
tuberose, and the other among my pansies, his hands 
on his hips, his hat-brim tilted forward, one eye 
shut and the other gazing critically and admiringly 
in the direction of my principal chimney. He said 
now there was a state of things to make a man glad 
to be alive; and added, "I leave it to you if you 
ever saw anything more deliriously picturesque than 
eight lightning-rods on one chimney?" I said I had 
no present recollection of anything that transcended 
it. He said that in his opinion nothing on earth 
but Niagara Falls was superior to it in the way of 
natural scenery. All that was needed now, he verily 

8 



POLITICAL ECONOMY 

believed, to make my house a perfect balm to the 
eye, was to kind of touch up the other chimneys a 
little, and thus "add to the generous coup d'&il a 
soothing uniformity of achievement which would 
allay the excitement naturally consequent upon the 
coup d'etat." I asked him if he learned to talk out 
of a book, and if I could borrow it anywhere? He 
smiled pleasantly, and said that his manner of 
speaking was not taught in books, and that nothing 
but familiarity with lightning could enable a man to 
handle his conversational style with impunity. He 
then figured up an estimate, and said that about 
eight more rods scattered about my roof would 
about fix me right, and he guessed five hundred feet 
of stuff would do it; and added that the first eight 
had got a little the start of him, so to speak, and 
used up a mere trifle of material more than he had 
calculated on a hundred feet or along there. I 
said I was in a dreadful hurry, and I wished we 
could get this business permanently mapped out, so 
that I could go on with my work. He said, "I 
could have put up those eight rods, and marched off 
about my business some men would have done it. 
But no; I said to myself, this man is a stranger to 
me, and I will die before I'll wrong him; there ain't 
lightning-rods enough on that house, and for one 
I'll never stir out of my tracks till I've done as I 
would be done by, and told him so. Stranger, my 
duty is accomplished ; if the recalcitrant and dephlo- 
gistic messenger of heaven strikes your " "There, 
now, there," I said, "put on the other eight add 
five hundred feet of spiral-twist do anything and 

9 



MARK TWAIN 

everything you want to do; but calm your suffer- 
ings, and try to keep your feelings where you can 
reach them with the dictionary. Meanwhile, if we 
understand each other now, I will go to work again." 
I think I have been sitting here a full hour this 
time, trying to get back to where I was when my 
train of thought was broken up by the last interrup- 
tion; but I believe I have accomplished it at last, 
and may venture to proceed again.] 

wrestled with this great subject, and the greatest among them 
have found it a worthy adversary, and one that always comes 
up fresh and smiling after every throw. The great Confucius 
said that he would rather be a profound political economist than 
chief of police. Cicero frequently said that political economy 
was the grandest consummation that the human mind was ca- 
pable of consuming; and even our own Greeley had said vaguely 
but forcibly that "Political 

[Here the lightning-rod man sent up another call 
for me. I went down in a state of mind bordering 
on impatience. He said he would rather have died 
than interrupt me, but when he was employed to do 
a job, and that job was expected to be done in a 
clean, workmanlike manner, and when it was fin- 
ished and fatigue urged him. to seek the rest and 
recreation he stood so much in need of, and he was 
about to do it, but looked up and saw at a glance 
that all the calculations had been a little out, and if 
a thunder-storm were to come up, and that house, 
which he felt a personal interest in, stood there with 
nothing on earth to protect it but sixteen lightning- 
rods "Let us have peace!" I shrieked. "Put up a 
hundred and fifty! Put some on the kitchen! Put 

10 



POLITICAL ECONOMY 

a dozen on the barn! Put a couple on the cow! 
Put one on the cook! scatter them all over the 
persecuted place till it looks like a zinc-plated, 
spiral-twisted, silver-mounted cane-brake! Move! 
Use up all the material you can get your hands on, 
and when you run out of lightning-rods put up ram- 
rods, cam-rods, stair-rods, piston-rods anything 
that will pander to your dismal appetite for artificial 
scenery, and bring respite to my raging brain and 
healing to my lacerated soul!" Wholly unmoved 
further than to smile sweetly this iron being 
simply turned back his wrist-bands daintily, and said 
he would now proceed to hump himself. Well, all 
that was nearly three hours ago. It is questionable 
whether I am calm enough yet to write on the noble 
theme of political economy, but I cannot resist the 
desire to try, for it is the one subject that is nearest 
to my heart and dearest to my brain of all this world's 
philosophy.] 

"economy is heaven's best boon to man." When the loose but 
gifted Byron lay in his Venetian exile he observed that, if it 
could be granted him to go back and live his misspent life over 
again, he would give his lucid and unintoxicated intervals to the 
composition, not of frivolous rhymes, but of essays upon political 
economy. Washington loved this exquisite science; such names 
as Baker, Beckwith, Judson, Smith, are imperishably linked with 
it; and even imperial Homer, in the ninth book of the Iliad, has 
said: 

Fiat justitia, ruat ccelum, 

Post mortem unum, ante bellum, 

Hie jacet hoc, ex-parte res, 

Politicum e-conomico est. 

The grandeur of these conceptions of the old poet, together 
with the felicity of the wording which clothes them, and the 

ii 



MARK TWAIN 

sublimity of the imagery whereby they are illustrated, have 
singled out that stanza, and made it more celebrated than any 
that ever 

["Now, not a word out of you not a single word. 
Just state your bill and relapse into impenetrable 
silence for ever and ever on these premises. Nine 
hundred dollars? Is that all? This check for the 
amount will be honored at any respectable bank in 
America. What is that multitude of people gath- 
ered in the street for? How? 'looking at the 
lightning-rods!' Bless my life, did they never see 
any lightning-rods before? Never saw 'such a stack 
of them on one establishment,' did I understand you 
to say? I will step down and critically observe this 
popular ebullition of ignorance."] 

THREE DAYS LATER. We are all about worn 
out. For four-and-twenty hours our bristling prem- 
ises were the talk and wonder of the town. The 
theaters languished, for their happiest scenic inven- 
tions were tame and commonplace compared with 
my lightning-rods. Our street was blocked night 
and day with spectators, and among them were 
many who came from the country to see. It was a 
blessed relief on the second day when a thunder- 
storm came up and the lightning began to "go for" 
my house, as the historian Josephus quaintly phrases 
it. It cleared the galleries, so to speak. In five 
minutes there was not a spectator within half a mile 
of my place; but all the high houses about that dis- 
tance away were full, windows, roof, and all. And 
well they might be, for all the falling stars and 

12 



POLITICAL ECONOMY 

Fourth-of-July fireworks of a generation, put together 
and rained down simultaneously out of heaven in 
one brilliant shower upon one helpless roof, would 
not have any advantage of the pyrotechnic display 
that was making my house so magnificently con- 
spicuous in the general gloom of the storm. By 
actual count, the lightning struck at my establish- 
ment seven hundred and sixty-four times in forty 
minutes, but tripped on one of those faithful rods 
every time, and slid down the spiral-twist and shot 
into the earth before it probably had time to be 
surprised at the way the thing was done. And 
through all that bombardment only one patch of 
slates was ripped up, and that was because, for a 
single instant, the rods in the vicinity were transport- 
ing all the lightning they could possibly accommo- 
date. Well, nothing was ever seen like it since the 
world began. For one whole day and night not a 
member of my family stuck his head out of the 
window but he got the hair snatched off it as smooth 
as a billiard-ball; and, if the reader will believe me, 
not one of us ever dreamt of stirring abroad. But 
at last the awful siege came to an end because there 
was absolutely no more electricity left in the clouds 
above us within grappling distance of my insatiable 
rods. Then I sallied forth, and gathered daring 
workmen together, and not a bite or a nap did we 
take till the premises were utterly stripped of all 
their terrific armament except just three rods on the 
house, one on the kitchen, and one on the barn 
and, behold, these remain there even unto this day. 
And then, and not till then, the people ventured to 

13 



MARK TWAIN 

use our street again. I will remark here, in passing, 
that during that fearful time I did not continue my 
essay upon political economy. I am not even yet 
settled enough in nerve and brain to resume it. 

To WHOM IT MAY CONCERN. Parties having 
need of three thousand two hundred and eleven feet 
of best quality zinc-plated spiral-twist lightning-rod 
stuff, and sixteen hundred and thirty-one silver- 
tipped points, all in tolerable repair (and, although 
much worn by use, still equal to any ordinary emer- 
gency), can hear of a bargain by addressing the 
publisher. 



THE JUMPING FROG 1 

IN ENGLISH. THEN IN FRENCH. THEN CLAWED BACK 
INTO A CIVILIZED LANGUAGE ONCE MORE BY 
PATIENT, UNREMUNERATED TOIL 

EVEN a criminal is entitled to fair play; and cer- 
tainly when a man who has done no harm has 
been unjustly treated, he is privileged to do his 
best to right himself. My attention has just been 
called to an article some three years old in a French 
Magazine entitled, Revue des Deux Mondes (Review 
of Some Two Worlds), wherein the writer treats of 
4 'Les Humoristes Americaines" (These Humorists 
Americans). I am one of these humorists Americans 
dissected by him, and hence the complaint I am 
making. 

This gentleman's article is an able one (as articles 
go, in the French, where they always tangle up 
everything to that degree that when you start into 
a sentence you never know whether you are going 
to come out alive or not). It is a very good article, 
and the writer says all manner of kind and compli- 
mentary things about me for which I am sure I 
thank him with all my heart; but then why should 
he go and spoil all his praise by one unlucky experi- 

1 Written about 1865. 
15 



MARK TWAIN 

ment ? What I refer to is this : he says my Jumping 
Frog is a funny story, but still he can't see why it 
should ever really convulse any one with laughter 
and straightway proceeds to translate it into French 
in order to prove to his nation that there is nothing 
so very extravagantly funny about it. Just there is 
where my complaint originates. He has not trans- 
lated it at all; he has simply mixed it all up; it is 
no more like the Jumping Frog when he gets through 
with it than I am like a meridian of longitude. But 
my mere assertion is not proof; wherefore I print 
the French version, that all may see that I do not 
speak falsely; furthermore, in order that even the 
unlettered may know my injury and give me their 
compassion, I have been at infinite pains and trouble 
to retranslate this French version back into Eng- 
lish; and to tell the truth I have well-nigh worn 
myself out at it, having scarcely rested from my 
work during five days and nights. I cannot speak 
the French language, but I can translate very well, 
though not fast, I being self-educated. I ask the 
reader to run his eye over the original English 
version of the Jumping Frog, and then read the 
French or my retranslation, and kindly take notice 
how the Frenchman has riddled the grammar. I 
think it is the worst I ever saw; and yet the French 
are called a polished nation. If I had a boy that 
put sentences together as they do, I would polish 
him to some purpose. Without further introduction, 
the Jumping Frog, as I originally wrote it, was as 
follows [after it will be found the French version, and 
after the latter my retranslation from the French] : 

16 



THE JUMPING FROG 

THE NOTORIOUS JUMPING FROG OF CALAVERAS 
COUNTY 

In compliance with the request of a friend of mine, who wrote 
me from the East, I called on good-natured, garrulous old Simon 
Wheeler, and inquired after my friend's friend, Leonidas W. 
Smiley, as requested to do, and I hereunto append the result. 
I have a lurking suspicion that Leonidas W. Smiley is a myth; 
that my friend never knew such a personage; and that he only 
conjectured that if I asked old Wheeler about him, it would re- 
mind him of his infamous Jim Smiley, and he would go to work 
and bore me to death with some exasperating reminiscence of 
him as long and as tedious as it should be useless to me. If 
that was the design, it succeeded. 

I found Simon Wheeler dozing comfortably by the bar-room 
stove of the dilapidated tavern in the decayed mining camp of 
Angel's, and I noticed that he was fat and bald-headed, and had 
an expression of winning gentleness and simplicity upon his 
tranquil countenance. He roused up, and gave me good day. 
I told him that a friend of mine had commissioned me to make 
some inquiries about a cherished companion of his boyhood 
named Leonidas W. Smiley Rev . Leonidas W. Smiley, a young 
minister of the Gospel, who he had heard was at one time a 
resident of Angel's Camp. I added that if Mr. Wheeler could 
tell me anything about this Rev. Leonidas W. Smiley, I would 
feel under many obligations to him. 

Simon Wheeler backed me into a corner and blockaded me 
there with his chair, and then sat down and reeled off the monot- 
onous narrative which follows this paragraph. He never smiled, 
he never frowned, he never changed his voice from the gentle- 
flowing key to which he tuned his initial sentence, he never be- 
trayed the slightest suspicion of enthusiasm; but all through 
the interminable narrative there ran a vein of impressive ear- 
nestness and sincerity, which showed me plainly that, so far 
from his imagining that there was anything ridiculous or funny 
about his story, he regarded it as a really important matter, and 
admired its two heroes as men of transcendent genius in finesse. 
I let him go on in his own way, and never interrupted him once. 

1 Pronounced Cal-e-ro-ras. 
17 



MARK TWAIN 

"Rev. Leonidas W. H'm, Reverend Le well, there was a 
feller here once by the name of Jim Smiley, in the winter of '49 
or maybe it was the spring of '50 I don't recollect exactly, 
somehow, though what makes me think it was one or the other 
is because I remember the big flume warn't finished when he 
first come to the camp; but anyway, he was the curiousest man 
about always betting on anything that turned up you ever see, 
if he could get anybody to bet on the other side; and if he 
couldn't he'd change sides. Any way that suited the other man 
would suit him any way just so's he got a bet, he was satisfied. 
But still he was lucky, uncommon lucky; he most always come 
out winner. He was always ready and laying for a chance; 
there couldn't be no solit'ry thing mentioned but that feller 'd 
offer to bet on it, and take ary side you please, as I was just tell- 
ing you. If there was a horse-race, you'd find him flush or you'd 
find him busted at the end of it; if there was a dog-fight, he'd bet 
on it; if there was a cat-fight, he'd bet on it; if there was a 
chicken-fight, he'd bet on it; why, if there was two birds setting 
on a fence, he would bet you which one would fly first; or if 
there was a camp-meeting, he would be there reg'lar to bet on 
Parson Walker, which he judged to be the best exhorter about 
here, and so he was too, and a good man. If he even see a 
straddle-bug start to go anywheres, he would bet you how long 
it would take him to get to to wherever he was going to, and 
if you took him up, he would foller that straddle-bug to Mexico 
but what he would find out where he was bound for and how 
long he was on the road. Lots of the boys here has seen that 
Smiley, and can tell you about him. Why, it never made no 
difference to him he'd bet on any thing the dangdest feller. 
Parson Walker's wife laid very sick once, for a good while, and 
it seemed as if they warn't going to save her; but one morning 
he come in, and Smiley up and asked him how she was, and he 
said she was considerable better thank the Lord for his in- 
f 'nite mercy and coming on so smart that with the blessing of 
Prov'dence she'd get well yet; and Smiley, before he thought, 
says, 'Well, I'll resk two-and-a-half she don't anyway.' 

"Thish-yer Smiley had a mare the boys called her the 
fifteen-minute nag, but that was only in fun, you know, because 
of course she was faster than that and he used to win money 
on that horse, for all she was so slow and always had the asthma, 
or the distemper, or the consumption, or something of that kind. 

18 



THE JUMPING FROG 

They used to give her two or three hundred yards' start, and then 
pass her under way; but always at the fag end of the race she'd 
get excited and desperate like, and come cavorting and strad- 
dling up, and scattering her legs around limber, sometimes in 
the air, and sometimes out to one side among the fences, and 
kicking up m-o-r-e dust and raising m-o-r-e racket with her 
coughing and sneezing and blowing her nose and always fetch 
up at the stand just about a neck ahead, as near as you could 
cipher it down. 

"And he had a little small bull-pup, that to look at him you'd 
think he warn't worth a cent but to set around and look ornery 
and lay for a chance to steal something. But as soon as money 
was up on him he was a different dog; his under- j aw 'd begin to 
stick out like the fo'castle of a steamboat, and his teeth would 
uncover and shine like the furnaces. And a dog might tackle 
him and bully-rag him, and bite him, and throw him over his 
shoulder two or three times, and Andrew Jackson which was 
the name of the pup Andrew Jackson would never let on but 
what he was satisfied, and hadn't expected nothing else and 
the bets being doubled and doubled on the other side all the 
time, till the money was all up ; and then all of a sudden he would 
grab that other dog jest by the j'int of his hind leg and freeze 
to it not chaw, you understand, but only just grip and hang 
on till they throwed up the sponge, if it was a year. Smiley 
always come out winner on that pup, till he harnessed a dog 
once that didn't have no hind legs, because they'd been sawed 
off in a circular saw, and when the thing had gone along far 
enough, and the money was all up, and he come to make a 
snatch for his pet holt, he see in a minute how he'd been imposed 
on, and how the other dog had him in the door, so to speak, and 
he 'peared surprised, and then he looked sorter discouraged-like, 
and didn't try no more to win the fight, and so he got shucked 
out bad. He give Smiley a look, as much as to say his heart was 
broke, and it was his fault, for putting up a dog that hadn't no 
hind legs for him to take holt of, which was his main depen- 
dence in a fight, and then he limped off a piece and laid down and 
died. It was a good pup, was that Andrew Jackson, and would 
have made a name for hisself if he'd lived, for the stuff was in 
him and he had genius I know it, because he hadn't no oppor- 
tunities to speak of, and it don't stand to reason that a dog 
could make such a fight as he could under them circumstances 

19 



MARK TWAIN 

if he hadn't no talent. It always makes me feel sorry when I 
think of that last fight of his'n, and the way it turned out. 

"Well, thish-yer Smiley had rat-tarriers, and chicken cocks, 
and tomcats and all them kind of things, till you couldn't rest, 
and you couldn't fetch nothing for him to bet on but he'd match 
you. He ketched a frog one day, and took him home, and said 
he cal'lated to educate him; and so he never done nothing for 
three months but set in his back yard and learn that frog to 
jump. And you bet you he did learn him, too. He'd give him 
a little punch behind, and the next minute you'd see that frog 
whirling in the air like a doughnut see him turn one summer- 
set, or maybe a couple, if he got a good start, and come down 
flat-footed and all right, like a cat. He got him up so in the 
matter of ketching flies, and kep' him in practice so constant, 
that he'd nail a fly every time as fur as he could see him. Smiley 
said all a frog wanted was education, and he could do 'most any- 
thing and I believe him. Why, I've seen him set Dan'l Web- 
ster down here on this floor Dan'l Webster was the name of the 
frog and sing out, 'Flies, Dan'l, flies!' and quicker'n you could 
wink he'd spring straight up and snake a fly off'n the counter 
there, and flop down on the floor ag'in as solid as a gob of mud, 
and fall to scratching the side of his head with his hind foot as 
indifferent as if he hadn't no idea he'd been doin' any more'n 
any frog might do. You never see a frog so modest and straight- 
for'ard as he was, for all he was so gifted. And when it come to 
fair and square jumping on a dead level, he could get over more 
ground at one straddle than any animal of his breed you ever 
see. Jumping on a dead level was his strong suit, you understand; 
and when it come to that, Smiley would ante up money on him 
as long as he had a red. Smiley was monstrous proud of his 
frog, and well he might be, for fellers that had traveled and been 
everywheres all said he laid over any frog that ever they see. 

"Well, Smiley kep' the beast in a little lattice box, and he 
used to fetch him down-town sometimes and lay for a bet. One 
day a feller a stranger in the camp, he was come acrost him 
with his box, and says: 

"'What might it be that you've got in the box?' 

"And Smiley says, sorter indifferent-like, 'It might be a par- 
rot, or it might be a canary, maybe, but it ain't it's only just 
a frog/ 

"And the feller took it, and looked at it careful, and turned it 

20 



THE JUMPING FROG 

round this way and that, and says, 'H'm so 'tis. Well, what's 
he good for?' 

"'Well,' Smiley says, easy and careless, 'he's good enough for 
one thing, I should judge he can outjump any frog in Cal- 
averas County.' 

"The feller took the box again, and took another long, partic- 
ular look, and give it back to Smiley, and says, very deliberate, 
'Well,' he says, 'I don't see no p'ints about that frog that's 
any better'n any other frog.' 

'"Maybe you don't,' Smiley says. 'Maybe you understand 
frogs and maybe you don't understand 'em; maybe you've had 
experience, and maybe you ain't only a amature, as it were. 
Anyways, I've got my opinion, and I'll resk forty dollars that 
he can outjump any frog in Calaveras County.' 

"And the feller studied a minute, and then says, kinder sad- 
like, 'Well, I'm only a stranger here, and I ain't got no frog; 
but if I had a frog, I'd bet you.' 

"And then Smiley says, 'That's all right that's all right if 
you'll hold my box a minute, I'll go and get you a frog.' And 
so the feller took the box, and put up his forty dollars along with 
Smiley's, and set down to wait. 

" So he set there a good while thinking and thinking to himself, 
and then he got the frog out and prized his mouth open and took 
a teaspoon and filled him full of quail-shot filled him pretty near 
up to his chin and set him on the floor. Smiley he went to the 
swamp and slopped around in the mud for a long time, and 
finally he ketched a frog, and fetched him in, and give him to 
this feller, and says: 

"'Now, if you're ready, set him alongside of Dan'l, with his 
fore paws just even with Dan'l's, and I'll give the word.' Then 
he says, ' One two three gill 1 and him and the feller touched 
up the frogs from behind, and the new frog hopped off lively, 
but Dan'l give a heave, and hysted up his shoulders so like 
a Frenchman, but it warn't no use he couldn't budge; he was 
planted as solid as a church, and he couldn't no more stir than 
if he was anchored out. Smiley was a good deal surprised, and 
he was disgusted too, but he didn't have no idea what the matter 
was, of course. 

"The feller took the money and started away; and when he 
was going out at the door, he sorter jerked his thumb over his 
shoulder so at Dan'l, and says again, very deliberate, 'Well,' 

2T 



MARK TWAIN 

he says, '/ don't see no p'ints about that frog that's any better'n 
any other frog.' 

"Smiley he stood scratching his head and looking down at 
Dan'l a long time, and at last he says, ' I do wonder what in the 
nation that frog throw'd off for I wonder if there ain't some- 
thing the matter with him he 'pears to look mighty baggy, 
somehow.' And he ketched Dan'l by the nap of the neck, and 
hefted him, and says, 'Why blame my cats if he don't weigh five 
pound!' and turned him upside down and he belched out a 
double handful of shot. And then he see how it was, and he was 
the maddest man he set the frog down and took out after that 
feller, but he never ketched him. And " 

[Here Simon Wheeler heard his name called from the front 
yard, and got up to see what was wanted.] And turning to me 
as he moved away, he said: "Just set where you are, stranger, 
and rest easy I ain't going to be gone a second." 

But, by your leave, I did not think that a continuation of the 
history of the enterprising vagabond Jim Smiley would be likely 
to afford me much information concerning the Rev. Leonidas W. 
Smiley, and so I started away. 

At the door I met the sociable Wheeler returning, and he 
buttonholed me and recommenced: 

"Well, thish-yer Smiley had a yaller one-eyed cow that didn't 
have no tail, only just a short stump like a bannanner, and " 

However, lacking both time and inclination, I did not wait to 
hear about the afflicted cow, but took my leave. 

Now let the learned look upon this picture and 
say if iconoclasm can further go : 

[From the Revue des Deux Mondes, of July isth, 1872.] 

LA GRENOUILLE SAUTEUSE DU COMTE DE 
CALAVERAS 

" II y avait une fois ici un individu connu sous le nom de 
Jim Smiley: c'e"tait dans 1'hiver de 49, peut-tre bien au prin- 
temps de 50, je ne me rappelle pas exactement. Ce qui me fait 
croire que c'e"tait 1'un ou 1'autre, c'est que je me souviens que 
le grand bief n'etait pas acheve' lorsqu'il arriva au camp pour la 

22 



THE JUMPING FROG 

premiere fois, mais de toutes facons il e"tait ITiomme le plus 
friand de pans qui se put voir, pariant sur tout ce qui se pre- 
sentait, quand il pouvait trouver un adversaire, et, quand il 
n'en trouvait pas il passait du cote oppose*. Tout ce qui convenait 
a 1'autre lui convenait; pourvu qu'il cut un pari, Smiley e"tait 
satisfait. Et il avait une chance! une chance inoule: presque 
toujours il gagnait. II faut dire qu'il 6ia.it toujours pret a 
s'exposer, qu'on ne pouvait mentionner la moindre chose sans 
que ce gaillard offrit de parier la-dessus n'importe quoi et de 
prendre le cote" que Ton voudrait, comme je vous le disais tout 
a Theure. S'il y avait des courses, vous le trouviez riche 
ou ruine" a la fin; s'il y avait un combat de chiens, il apportait son 
enjeu; il 1'apportait pour un combat de chats, pour un combat 
de coqs; parbleu! si vous aviez vu deux oiseaux sur une haie, 
il vous aurait offert de parier lequel s'envolerait le premier, et, 
s'il y avait meeting au camp, il venait parier re"gulierement pour 
le cure" Walker, qu'il jugeait tre le meilleur pre"dicateur des 
environs, et qui l'e"tait en effet, et un brave homme. II aurait 
rencontre" une punaise de bois en chemin, qu'il aurait parie" sur 
le temps qu'il lui faudrait pour aller ou elle voudrait aller, et 
si vous 1'aviez pris au mot, il aurait suivi la punaise jusqu'au 
Mexique, sans se soucier d'aller si loin, ni du temps qu'il y per- 
drait. Une fois la femme du cure" Walker fut tres malade 
pendant longtemps, il semblait qu'on ne la sauverait pas; mais 
un matin le cure* arrive, et Smiley lui demande comment ella va, 
et il dit qu'elle est bien mieux, grace a 1'infinie mise*ricorde, 
tellement mieux qu'avec la benediction de la Providence elle 
s'en tirerait, et voila que, sans y penser, Smiley re"pond: Eh 
bien! ye gage deux et demi qu'elle mourra tout de me'me. 

"Ce Smiley avait une jument que les gars appelaient le bidet 
du quart dTieure, mais seulement pour plaisanter, vous com- 
prenez, parce que, bien entendu, elle etait plus vite que ca! Et 
il avait coutume de gagner de 1'argent avec cette bete, quoi- 
qu'elle fut poussive, cornarde, toujours prise d'asthme, de coliques 
ou de consomption, ou de quelque chose d'approchant. On lui 
donnait 2 ou 300 yards au depart, puis on la de"passait sans peine; 
mais jamais a la fin elle ne manquait de s'e"chauffer, de s'exaspeYer, 
et elle arrivait, s'e"cartant, se defendant, ses jambes greles en 1'air 
devant les obstacles, quelquefois les evitant et faisant avec cela 
plus de poussiere qu'aucun cheval, plus de bruit surtout avec ses 
6teraumens et reniflemens. crac! elle arrivait done toujours 

23 



MARK TWAIN 

premiere d'une te"te, aussi juste qu'on peut le mesurer. Et il 
avait un petit bouledogue qui, a le voir, ne valait pas un sou; on 
aurait cru que parier contre lui c'e"tait voler, tant il etait ordi- 
naire; mais aussitdt les enjeux faits, il devenait un autre chien. 
Sa machoire infe'rieure commencait a ressortir comme un ga- 
illard d'avant, ses dents se decouvraient brillantes commes des 
fournaises, et un chien pouvait le taquiner, 1'exciter, le mordre, 
le jeter deux ou trois fois par-dessus son e*paule, Andre Jackson, 
c'e*tait le nom du chien, Andre Jackson prenait cela tranquille- 
ment, comme s'il ne se fut jamais attendu a autre chose, et quand 
les paris e"taient doubles et redoubles contre lui, il vous saisissait 
1'autre chien juste a 1'articulation de la jambe de derriere, et il 
ne la lachait plus, non pas qu'il la machat, vous concevez, mais 
il s'y serait tenu pendu jusqu' ce qu'on jetat l'e"ponge en 1'air, 
fallut-il attendre un an. Smiley gagnait toujours avec cette 
b6te-la; malheureusement ils ont fini par dresser un chien qui 
n'avait pas de pattes de derriere, parce qu'on les avait seizes, 
et quand les choses furent au point qu'il voulait, et qu'il en vint 
a se jeter sur son morceau favori, le pauvre chien comprit en un 
instant qu'on s'etait moque" de lui, et que 1'autre le tenait. Vous 
n'avez jamais vu personne avoir 1'air plus penaud et plus de- 
courage*; il ne fit aucun effort pour gagner le combat et fut rude- 
ment secoue", de sorte que, regardant Smiley comme pour lui 
dire: Mon cceur est brise", c'est ta faute; pourquoi m'avoir 
livr a un chien qui n'a pas de pattes de derriere, puisque c'est 
par la que je les bats? il s'en alia en clopinant, et se coucha 
pour mourir. Ah! c'6tait un bon chien, cet Andr Jackson, et 
il se serait fait un nom, s'il avait vcu, car il y avait de 1'etoffe 
en lui, il avait du genie, je la sais, bien que de grandes occasions 
lui aient manque"; mais il est impossible de supposer qu'un chien 
capable de se battre comme lui, certaines circonstances e"tant 
donnees, ait manque* de talent. Je me sens triste toutes les 
fois que je pense a son dernier combat et au de"noument qu'il a 
eu. Eh bien! ce Smiley nourrissait des terriers a rats, et des 
coqs combat, et des chats, et toute sorte de choses, au point 
qu'il etait toujours en mesure de vous tenir tSte, et qu'avec sa 
rage de paris on n'avait plus de repos. II attrapa un jour une 
grenouille et 1'emporta chez lui, disant qu'il pretendait faire son 
education; vous me croirez si vous voulez, mais pendant trois 
mois il n'a rien fait que lui apprendre & sauter dans une cour 
retiree de sa maison. Et je vous reponds qu'il avait re"ussi. II 

24 



THE JUMPING FROG 

lui donnait un petit coup par derriere, et I'instant d'apres vous 
voyiez la grenouille tourner en 1'air comme un beignet au-dessus 
de la poele, faire une culbute, quelquefois deux, lorsqu'elle e"tait 
bien partie, et retomber sur ses pattes comme un chat. II 
I'avait dressee dans 1'art de gober des mouches, er 1'y exercait 
continuellement, si bien qu'une mouche, du plus loin qu'elle 
apparaissait, etait une mouche perdue. Smiley avait coutume 
de dire que tout ce qui manquait a. une grenouille, c'e"tait l'e"du- 
cation, qu'avec 1'education elle pouvait faire presque tout, et 
je le crois. Tenez, je 1'ai vu poser Daniel Webster la sur se 
plancher, Daniel Webster e*tait le nom de la grenouille, et 
lui chanter: Des mouches! Daniel, des mouches! En un clin 
d'ceil, Daniel avait bondi et saisi une mouche ici sur le comptoir, 
puis saut6 de nouveau par terre, ou il restart vraiment a se 
gratter la tete avec sa patte de derriere, comme s'il n'avait pas 
eu la moindre ide"e de sa superiority. Jamais vous n'avez 
grenouille vu de aussi modeste, aussi naturelle, dou6e comme elle 
1'etait! Et quand il s'agissait de sauter purement et simplement 
sur terrain plat, elle faisait plus de chemin en un saut qu'aucune 
bte de son espece que vous puissiez connaitre. Sauter a. 
plat, c'tait son fort! Quand il s'agissait de cela, Smiley en- 
tassait les enjeux sur elle tant qu'il lui, restait un rouge Hard. 
II faut le reconnaitre, Smiley 6tait monstrueusement fier de sa 
grenouille, et il en avait le droit, car des gens qui avaient vo- 
yage, qui avaient tout vu, disaient qu'on lui ferait injure de la 
comparer a une autre; de facon que Smiley gardait Daniel dans 
une petite boite & claire-voie qu'il emportait parfois a la ville 
pour quelque pari. 

"Un jour, un individu Stranger au camp I'arr&te avec sa boite 
et lui dit: Qu'est-ce que vous avez done serre" la dedans? 

"Smiley dit d'un air indifferent: Cela pourrait 6tre un pe- 
rroquet ou un serin, mais ce n'est rien de pareil, ce n'est qu'une 
grenouille. 

"L'individu la prend, la regarde avec soin, la tourne d'un 
cot6 et de 1'autre puis il dit. Tiens! en effet! A quoi estelle 
bonne? 

" Mon Dieu! re"pond Smiley, toujours d'un air d^gage", elle 
est bonne pour une chose a mon avis, elle peut battre en sautant 
toute grenouille du comte de Calaveras. 

"L'individu reprend la boite, 1'examine de nouveau longue- 
ment, et la rend i Smiley en disant d'un air delibere". Eh bienJ 

25 



MARK TWAIN 

je ne vois pas que cette grenouille ait rien de mieux qu'aucune 
grenouille. 

" Possible que vous ne le voyiez paz, dit Smiley, possible 
que vous vous entendiez en grenouilles, possible que vous ne 
vous y entendez point, possible que vous ayez de 1 'experience, 
et possible que vous ne soyez qu'un amateur. De toute maniere, 
je parie quarante dollars qu'elle battra en sautant n'importe 
quelle grenouille du comte" de Calaveras. 

"L'individu re'fle'chit une seconde et dit comme attrist6: Je 
ne suis qu'un etranger ici, je n'ai pas de grenouille; mais, si j'en 
avais une, je tiendrais le pari. 

" Fort bien! rdpond Smiley. Rien de plus facile. Si vous 
voulez tenir ma bofte une minute, j'irai vous chercher une 
grenouille. Voila done 1'individu qui garde la boite, qui met 
ses quarante dollars sur ceux de Smiley et qui attend. II attend 
assez longtemps, re"flechissant tout seul, et figurez-vous qu'il 
prend Daniel, lui ouvre la bouche de force at avec une cuiller a th6 
1'emplit de menu plomb de chasse, mais I'emplit jusqu'au menton, 
puis il le pose par terre. Smiley pendant ce temps e"tait a bar- 
boter dans une mare. Finalement il attrape une grenouille, 
1'apporte a cet individu et dit: Maintenant, si vous e"tes pret, 
mettez-la tout contre Daniel, avec leurs pattes de devant sur la 
me"me ligne, et je donnerai le signal; puis il ajoute: Un, deux, 
trois, sautez! 

"Lui et 1'individu touchent leurs grenouilles par derriere, et 
la grenouille neuve se met a sautiller, mais Daniel se souleve 
lourdement, hausse les paules ainsi, comme un Francais; a 
quoi bon? il ne pouvait bouger, il 6tait plante solide comme une 
enclume, il n'avancait pas plus que si on 1'eut mis a 1'ancre. 
Smiley fut surpris et de'goute', mais il ne se doutait pas du tour, 
bien entendu. L'individu empoche 1'argent, s'en va, et en s'en 
allant est-ce qu'il ne donne pas un coup de pouce par-dessur, 
l'e"paule, comme ca, au pauvre Daniel, en disant de son air 
delibe're': Eh bien! je ne vois pas que cette grenouille ait rien 
de muiex qu'une autre. 

"Smiley se gratta longtemps la tte, les yeux fixe's sur Daniel, 
jusqu'a ce qu'enfin il dit: Je me demande comment diable il se 
fait que cette bdte ait refuse". . . . Est-ce qu'elle aurait quelque 
chose? ... On croirait qu'elle est enfle'e. 

" II empoigne Daniel par la peau du cou, le souleve et dit: Le 
loup me croque, s'il ne pese pas cinq livres. 

26 



THE JUMPING FROG 

"H le retourne, et le malheureux crache deux poign^es de 
plomb. Quand Smiley reconnut ce qui en e"tait, il fut comme 
fou. Vous le voyez d'ici poser sa grenouille par terre et courir 
aprs cet individu, mais il ne le rattrapa jamais, et. . . . 

[Translation of the above back from the French.] 

THE FROG JUMPING OF THE COUNTY OF 
CALAVERAS 

It there was one time here an individual known 
under the name of Jim Smiley ; it was in the win- 
ter of '49, possibly well at the spring of '50, I no 
me recollect not exactly. This which me makes to 
believe that it was the one or the other, it is that I 
shall remember that the grand flume is not achieved 
when he arrives at the camp for the first time, but 
of all sides he was the man the most fond of to bet 
which one have seen, betting upon all that which is 
presented, when he could find an adversary; and 
when he not of it could not, he passed to the side 
opposed. All that which convenienced to the other, 
to him convenienced also; seeing that he had a bet, 
Smiley was satisfied. And he had a chance ! a chance 
even worthless ; nearly always he gained. It must to 
say that he was always near to himself expose, but 
one no could mention the least thing without that 
this gaillard offered to bet the bottom, no matter 
what, and to take the side that one him would, as 
I you it said all at the hour (tout a 1'heure). If it 
there was of races, you him find rich or ruined at 
the end; if it there is a combat of dogs, he bring 
his bet; he himself laid always for a combat of 

27 



MARK TWAIN 

cats, for a combat of cocks ; by-blue ! If you have 
see two birds upon a fence, he you should have 
offered of to bet which of those birds shall fly the 
first; and if there is meeting at the camp (meeting 
au camp) he comes to bet regularly for the cure 
Walker, which he judged to be the best predicator 
of the neighborhood (predicateur des environs) and 
which he was in effect, and a brave man. He would 
encounter a bug of wood in the road, whom he will 
bet upon the time which he shall take to go where 
she would go and if you him have take at the 
word, he will follow the bug as far as Mexique, with- 
out himself caring to go so far; neither of the time 
which he there lost. One time the woman of the 
cure Walker is very sick during long time, it seemed 
that one not her saved not; but one morning the 
cure arrives, and Smiley him demanded how she goes, 
and he said that she is well better, grace to the 
infinite misery (lui demande comment elle va, et il 
dit qu'elle est bien mieux, grace a 1'infinie miseri- 
corde) so much better that with the benediction of 
the Providence she herself of it would pull out (elle 
s'en tirerait); and behold that without there think- 
ing Smiley responds: "Well, I gage two-and-half that 
she will die all of same." 

This Smiley had an animal which the boys called 
the nag of the quarter of hour, but solely for pleas- 
antry, you comprehend, because, well understand, 
she was more fast as that! [Now why that excla- 
mation? M. T.] And it was custom of to gain 
of the silver with this beast, notwithstanding she 
was poussive, cornarde, always taken of asthma, of 

28 



THE JUMPING FROG 

colics or of consumption, or something of approach- 
ing. One him would give two or three hundred 
yards at the departure, then one him passed without 
pain; but never at the last she not fail of herself 
e'chauffer, of herself exasperate, and she arrives her- 
self ecartant, se defendant, her legs greles in the air 
before the obstacles, sometimes them elevating and 
making with this more of dust than any horse, more 
of noise above with his e"ternumens and reniflemens 
crac! she arrives then always first by one head, 
as just as one can it measure. And he had a small 
bulldog (bouledogue !) who, to him see, no value, 
not a cent; one would believe that to bet against 
him it was to steal, so much he was ordinary; but 
as soon as the game made, she becomes another 
dog. Her jaw inferior commence to project like a 
deck of before, his teeth themselves discover brilliant 
like some furnaces, and a dog could him tackle (le 
taquiner), him excite, him murder (le mordre), him 
throw two or three times over his shoulder, Andre" 
Jackson this was the name of the dog Andre" 
Jackson takes that tranquilly, as if he not himself 
was never expecting other thing, and when the bets 
were doubled and redoubled against him, he you 
seize the other dog just at the articulation of the 
leg of behind, and he not it leave more, not that he 
it masticate, you conceive, but he himself there shall 
be holding during until that one throws the sponge 
in the air, must he wait a year. Smiley gained 
always with this beast-la; unhappily they have 
finished by elevating a dog who no had not of feet 
of behind, because one them had sawed; and when 



MARK TWAIN 

things were at the point that he would, and that he 
came to himself throw upon his morsel favorite, the 
poor dog comprehended in an instant that he him- 
self was deceived in him, and that the other dog him 
had. You no have never seen person having the air 
more penaud and more discouraged; he not made 
no effort to gain the combat, and was rudely shucked. 
Eh bien! this Smiley nourished some terriers a 
rats, and some cocks of combat, and some cats, and 
all sorts of things; and with his rage of betting one 
no had more of repose. He trapped one day a frog 
and him imported with him (et 1'emporta chez lui) 
saying that he pretended to make his education. 
You me believe if you will, but during three months 
he not has nothing done but to him apprehend to 
jump (apprendre a sauter) in a court retired of her 
mansion (de sa maison). And I you respond that 
he have succeeded. He him gives a small blow by 
behind, and the instant after you shall see the frog 
turn in the air like a grease-biscuit, make one sum- 
mersault, sometimes two, when she was well started, 
and refall upon his feet like a cat. He him had 
accomplished in the art of to gobble the flies (gober 
des mouches), and him there exercised continually 
so well that a fly at the most far that she ap- 
peared was a fly lost. Smiley had custom to say that 
all which lacked to a frog it was the education, but 
with the education she could do nearly all and I 
him believe. Tenez, I him have seen pose Daniel 
Webster there upon this plank Daniel Webster was 
the name of the frog and to him sing, "Some flies, 
Daniel, some flies!" in a flash of the eye Daniel 

30 



THE JUMPING FROG 

had bounded and seized a fly here upon the counter, 
then jumped anew at the earth, where he rested truly 
to himself scratch the head with his behind foot, as 
if he no had not the least idea of his superiority. 
Never you not have seen frog as modest, as natural, 
sweet as she was. And when he himself agitated to 
jump purely and simply upon plain earth, she does 
more ground in one jump than any beast of his 
species than you can know. To jump plain this 
was his strong. When he himself agitated for that, 
Smiley multiplied the bets upon her as long as there 
to him remained a red. It must to know, Smiley 
was monstrously proud of his frog, and he of it was 
right, for some men who were traveled, who had all 
seen, said that they to him would be injurious to 
him compare to another frog. Smiley guarded 
Daniel in a little box latticed which he carried by- 
times to the village for some bet. 

One day an individual stranger at the camp him 
arrested with his box and him said : 

"What is this that you have them shut up there 
within?" 

Smiley said, with an air indifferent : 

"That could be a paroquet, or a syringe (ou un 
serin), but this no is nothing of such, it not is but 
a frog." 

The individual it took, it regarded with care, it 
turned from one side and from the other, then he 
said: 

"Tiens! in effect! At what is she good?" 

"My God!" respond Smiley, always with an air 
disengaged, "she is good for one thing, to my notice 

31 



MARK TWAIN 

(a mon avis), she can batter in jumping (elle peut 
battre en sautant) all frogs of the county of Cal- 
averas." 

The individual retook the box, it examined of new 
longly, and it rendered to Smiley in saying with an 
air deliberate: 

' ' Eh bien ! I no saw not that that frog had nothing 
of better than each frog." (Je ne vois pas que cette 
grenouille ait rien de mieux qu'aucune grenouille.) 
[If that isn't grammar gone to seed, then I count 
myself no judge. M. T.] 

"Possible that you not it saw not," said Smiley, 
"possible that you you comprehend frogs; possible 
that you not you there comprehend nothing; possi- 
ble that you had of the experience, and possible that 
you not be but an amateur. Of all manner (De 
toute maniere) I bet forty dollars that she batter 
in jumping no matter which frog of the county of 
Calaveras." 

The individual reflected a second, and said like sad : 

"I not am but a stranger here, I no have not a 
frog; but if I of it had one, I would embrace the bet." 

"Strong well!" respond Smiley; "nothing of more 
facility. If you will hold my box a minute, I go you 
to search a frog (j'irai vous chercher)." 

Behold, then, the individual, who guards the box, 
who puts his forty dollars upon those of Smiley, 
and who attends (et qui attend). He attended 
enough longtimes, reflecting all solely. And figure 
you that he takes Daniel, him opens the mouth by 
force and with a teaspoon him fills with shot of the 
hunt, even him fills just to the chin, then he him 

32 



THE JUMPING FROG 

puts by the earth. Smiley during these times was 
at slopping in a swamp. Finally he trapped (at- 
trape) a frog, him carried to that individual, and 
said: 

"Now if you be ready, put him all against Daniel, 
with their before feet upon the same line, and I give 
the signal" then he added: "One, two, three 
advance!" 

Him and the individual touched their frogs by 
behind, and the frog new put to jump smartly, but 
Daniel himself lifted ponderously, exalted the shoul- 
ders thus, like a Frenchman to what good? he 
not could budge, he is planted solid like a church, 
he not advance no more than if one him had put 
at the anchor. 

Smiley was surprised and disgusted, but he not 
himself doubted not of the turn being intended 
(mais il ne se doutait pas du tour, bien entendu). 
The individual empocketed the silver, himself with 
it went, and of it himself in going is it that he no 
gives not a jerk of thumb over the shoulder like 
that at the poor Daniel, in saying with his air 
deliberate (L'individu empoche 1'argent, s'en va 
et en s'en allant est-ce qu'il ne donne pas un coup de 
pouce par-dessus I'e'paule, comme a, au pauvre 
Daniel, en disant de son air delibere) : 

"Eh bien! J no see not that that frog has nothing 
of better than another." 

Smiley himself scratched longtimes the head, the 
eyes fixed upon Daniel, until that which at last he 
said: 

"I me demand how the devil it makes itself that 

33 



MARK TWAIN 

this beast has refused. Is it that she had some- 
thing? One would believe that she is stuffed." 

He grasped Daniel by the skin of the neck, him 
lifted and said: 

"The wolf me bite if he no weigh not five pounds." 
He him reversed and the unhappy belched two 
handfuls of shot (et le malheureux, etc.). When 
Smiley recognized how it was, he was like mad. He 
deposited his frog by the earth and ran after that 
individual, but he not him caught never. 

Such is the Jumping Frog, to the distorted French 
eye. I claim that I never put together such an 
odious mixture of bad grammar and delirium tre- 
mens in my life. And what has a poor foreigner 
like me done, to be abused and misrepresented like 
this? When I say, "Well, I don't see no p'ints 
about that frog that's any better'n any other frog," 
is it kind, is it just, for this Frenchman to try to 
make it appear that I said, "Eh bien! I no saw not 
that that frog had nothing of better than each 
frog"? I have no heart to write more. I never 
felt so about anything before. 

HARTFORD, March, 1875. 



JOURNALISM IN TENNESSEE 1 

The editor of the Memphis Avalanche swoops thus mildly 
down upon a correspondent who posted him as a Radical: 
"While he was writing the first word, the middle, dotting his 
i's, crossing his t's, and punching his period, he knew he was 
concocting a sentence that was saturated with infamy and 
reeking with falsehood." Exchange. 

1WAS told by the physician that a Southern 
climate would improve my health, and so I went 
down to Tennessee, and got a berth on the Morning 
Glory and Johnson County War-Whoop as associate 
editor. When I went on duty I found the chief 
editor sitting tilted back in a three-legged chair with 
his feet on a pine table. There was another pine 
table in the room and another afflicted chair, and 
both were half buried under newspapers and scraps 
and sheets of manuscript. There was a wooden box 
of sand, sprinkled with cigar stubs and "old sol- 
diers," and a stove with a door hanging by its upper 
hinge. The chief editor had a long-tailed black 
cloth frock-coat on, and white linen pants. His 
boots were small and neatly blacked. He wore a 
ruffled shirt, a large seal-ring, a standing collar of 
obsolete pattern, and a checkered neckerchief with 
the ends hanging down. Date of costume about 

1 Written about 1871. 
35 



MARK TWAIN 

1848. He was smoking a cigar, and trying to think 
of a word, and in pawing his hair he had rumpled 
his locks a good deal. He was scowling fearfully, 
and I judged that he was concocting a particularly 
knotty editorial. He told me to take the exchanges 
and skim through them and write up the "Spirit of 
the Tennessee Press," condensing into the article all 
of their contents that seemed of interest. 
I wrote as follows: 

SPIRIT OF THE TENNESSEE PRESS 

The editors of the Semi-Weekly Earthquake evidently labor 
under a misapprehension with regard to the Bally hack railroad. 
It is not the object of the company to leave Buzzard ville off to 
one side. On the contrary, they consider it one of the most 
important points along the line, and consequently can have no 
desire to slight it. The gentlemen of the Earthquake will, of 
course, take pleasure in making the correction. 

John W. Blossom, Esq., the able editor of the Higginsville 
Thunderbolt and Battle Cry of Freedom, arrived in the city yester- 
day. He is stopping at the Van Buren House. 

We observe that our contemporary of the Mud Springs 
Morning Howl has fallen into the error of supposing that the 
election of Van Werter is not an established fact, but he will have 
discovered his mistake before this reminder reaches him, no 
doubt. He was doubtless misled by incomplete election returns. 

It_is pleasant to note that the city of Blathersville is endeav- 
oring to contract with some New York gentlemen to pave its 
well-nigh impassable streets with the Nicholson pavement. The 
Daily Hurrah urges the measure with ability, and seems confident 
of ultimate success. 

I passed my manuscript over to the chief editor for 
acceptance, alteration, or destruction. He glanced 
at it and his face clouded. He ran his eye down 
the pages, and his countenance grew portentous. It 

36 



JOURNALISM IN TENNESSEE 

was easy to see that something was wrong. Pres- 
ently he sprang up and said : 

"Thunder and lightning! Do you suppose I am 
going to speak of those cattle that way? Do you 
suppose my subscribers are going to stand such gruel 
as that? Give me the pen !" 

I never saw a pen scrape and scratch its way so 
viciously, or plow through another man's verbs and 
adjectives so relentlessly. While he was in the midst 
of his work, somebody shot at him through the open 
window, and marred the symmetry of my ear. 

"Ah," said he, "that is that scoundrel Smith, of 
the Moral Volcano he was due yesterday." And he 
snatched a navy revolver from his belt and fired. 
Smith dropped, shot in the thigh. The shot spoiled 
Smith's aim, who was just taking a second chance, 
and he crippled a stranger. It was me. Merely a 
finger shot off. 

Then the chief editor went on with his erasures 
and interlineations. Just as he finished them a hand- 
grenade came down the stove-pipe, and the explosion 
shivered the stove into a thousand fragments. How- 
ever, it did no further damage, except that a vagrant 
piece knocked a couple of my teeth out. 

"That stove is utterly ruined," said the chief 
editor. 

I said I believed it was. 

"Well, no matter don't want it this kind of 
weather. I know the man that did it. I'll get 
him. Now, here is the way this stuff ought to be 
written." 

I took the manuscript. It was scarred with era- 

37 



MARK TWAIN 

sures and interlineations till its mother wouldn't have 
known it if it had had one. It now read as follows : 

SPIRIT OF THE TENNESSEE PRESS 

The inveterate liars of the Semi-Weekly Earthquake are evi- 
dently endeavoring to palm off upon a noble and chivalrous peo- 
ple another of their vile and brutal falsehoods with regard to 
that most glorious conception of the nineteenth century, the 
Ballyhack railroad. The idea that Buzzardville was to be left 
off at one side originated in their own fulsome brains or rather 
in the settlings which they regard as brains. They had better 
swallow this lie if they want to save their abandoned reptile 
carcasses the cowhiding they so richly deserve. 

That ass, Blossom, of the Higginsville Thunderbolt and Battle 
Cry of Freedom, is down here again sponging at the Van Buren. 

We observe that the besotted blackguard of the Mud Springs 
Morning Howl is giving out, with his usual propensity for lying, 
that Van Werter is not elected. The heaven-born mission of jour- 
nalism is to disseminate truth; to eradicate error; to educate, 
refine, and elevate the tone of public morals and manners, and 
make all men more gentle, more virtuous, more charitable, and 
in all ways better, and holier, and happier; and yet this black- 
hearted scoundrel degrades his great office persistently to the 
dissemination of falsehood, calumny, vituperation, and vulgarity. 

Blathersville wants a Nicholson pavement it wants a jail and 
a poorhouse more. The idea of a pavement in a one-horse 
town composed of two gin-mills, a blacksmith shop, and that 
mustard-plaster of a newspaper, the Daily Hurrah! The crawl- 
ing insect, Buckner, who edits the Hurrah, is braying about his 
business with his customary imbecility, and imagining that he 
is talking sense. 

"Now that is the way to write peppery and to 
the point. Mush-and-milk journalism gives me the 
fan- tods." 

About this time a brick came through the window 
with a splintering crash, and gave me a considerable 

38 



JOURNALISM IN TENNESSEE 

of a jolt in the back. I moved out of range I began 
to feel in the way. 

The chief said, "That was the Colonel, likely. 
I've been expecting him for two days. He will be 
up now right away." 

He was correct. The Colonel appeared in the 
door a moment afterward with a dragoon revolver in 
his hand. 

He said, ' ' Sir, have I the honor of addressing the 
poltroon who edits this mangy sheet?" 

"You have. Be seated, sir. Be careful of the 
chair, one of its legs is gone. I believe I have the 
honor of addressing the putrid liar, Colonel Blather- 
skite Tecumseh?" 

"Right, sir. I have a little account to settle with 
you. If you are at leisure we will begin." 

"I have an article on the 'Encouraging Progress 
of Moral and Intellectual Development in America' 
to finish, but there is no hurry. Begin." 

Both pistols rang out their fierce clamor at the 
same instant. The chief lost a lock of his hair, and 
the Colonel's bullet ended its career in the fleshy 
part of my thigh. The Colonel's left shoulder was 
clipped a little. They fired again. Both missed 
their men this time, but I got my share, a shot in 
the arm. At the third fire both gentlemen were 
wounded slightly, and I had a knuckle chipped. I 
then said, I believed I would go out and take a 
walk, as this was a private matter, and I had a 
delicacy about participating in it further. But both 
gentlemen begged me to keep my seat, and assured 
me that I was not in the way. 

39 



MARK TWAIN 

They then talked about the elections and the crops 
while they reloaded, and I fell to tying up my 
wounds. But presently they opened fire again with 
animation, and every shot took effect but it is 
proper to remark that five out of the six fell to my 
share. The sixth one mortally wounded the Colonel, 
who remarked, with fine humor, that he would have 
to say good morning now, as he had business up- 
town. He then inquired the way to the undertaker's 
and left. 

The chief turned to me and said, ' ' I am expecting 
company to dinner, and shall have to get ready. 
It will be a favor to me if you will read proof and 
attend to the customers." 

I winced a little at the idea of attending to the 
customers, but I was too bewildered by the fusillade 
that was still ringing in my ears to think of anything 
to say. 

He continued, "Jones will be here at three cow- 
hide him. Gillespie will call earlier, perhaps - 
throw him out of the window. Ferguson will be 
along about four kill him. That is all for to-day, I 
believe. If you have any odd time, you may write 
a blistering article on the police give the chief 
inspector rats. The cowhides are under the table; 
weapons in the drawer ammunition there in the 
corner lint and bandages up there in the pigeon- 
holes. In case of accident, go to Lancet, the sur- 
geon, down-stairs. He advertises we take it out in 
trade." 

He was gone. I shuddered. At the end of the 
next three hours I had been through perils so awful 

40 



JOURNALISM IN TENNESSEE 

that all peace of mind and all cheerfulness were gone 
from me. Gillespie had called and thrown me out 
of the window. Jones arrived promptly, and when 
I got ready to do the cowhiding he took the job off 
my hands. In an encounter with a stranger, not in 
the bill of fare, I had lost my scalp. Another 
stranger, by the name of Thompson, left me a mere 
wreck and ruin of chaotic rags. And at last, at bay 
in the corner, and beset by an infuriated mob of 
editors, blacklegs, politicians, and desperadoes, who 
raved and swore and flourished their weapons about 
my head till the air shimmered with glancing flashes 
of steel, I was in the act of resigning my berth on 
the paper when the chief arrived, and with him a 
rabble of charmed and enthusiastic friends. Then 
ensued a scene of riot and carnage such as no human 
pen, or steel one either, could describe. People were 
shot, probed, dismembered, blown up, thrown out 
of the window. There was a brief tornado of murky 
blasphemy, with a confused and frantic war-dance 
glimmering through it, and then all was over. In 
five minutes there was silence, and the gory chief and 
I sat alone and surveyed the sanguinary ruin that 
strewed the floor around us. 

He said, "You'll like this place when you get 
used to it." 

I said, "I'll have to get you to excuse me; I think 
maybe I might write to suit you after a while; 
as soon as I had had some practice and learned the 
language I am confident I could. But, to speak the 
plain truth, that sort of energy of expression has its 
inconveniences, and a man is liable to interruption. 

41 



MARK TWAIN 

You see that yourself. Vigorous writing is calcu- 
lated to elevate the public, no doubt, but then I do 
not like to attract so much attention as it calls forth. 
I can't write with comfort when I am interrupted so 
much as I have been to-day. I like this berth well 
enough, but I don't like to be left here to wait on 
the customers. The experiences are novel, I grant 
you, and entertaining, too, after a fashion, but they 
are not judiciously distributed. A gentleman shoots 
at you through the window and cripples me; a bomb- 
shell comes down the stove-pipe for your gratifica- 
tion and sends the stove door down my throat; a 
friend drops in to swap compliments with you, and 
freckles me with bullet-holes till my skin won't hold 
my principles; you go to dinner, and Jones comes 
with his cowhide, Gillespie throws me out of the 
window, Thompson tears all my clothes off, and an 
entire stranger takes my scalp with the easy freedom 
of an old acquaintance ; and in less than five minutes 
all the blackguards in the country arrive in their 
war-paint, and proceed to scare the rest of me to 
death with their tomahawks. Take it altogether, I 
never had such a spirited time in all my life as I 
have had to-day. No; I like you, and I like your 
calm unruffled way of explaining things to the cus- 
tomers, but you see I am not used to it. The 
Southern heart is too impulsive; Southern hospitality 
is too lavish with the stranger. The paragraphs 
which I have written to-day, and into whose cold 
sentences your masterly hand has infused the fervent 
spirit of Tennesseean journalism, will wake up another 
nest of hornets. All that mob of editors will come 

42 



JOURNALISM IN TENNESSEE 

and they will come hungry, too, and want somebody 
for breakfast. I shall have to bid you adieu. I 
decline to be present at these festivities. I came 
South for my health, I will go back on the same 
errand, and suddenly. Tennesseean journalism is 
too stirring for me." 

After which we parted with mutual regret, and I 
took apartments at the hospital. 



THE STORY OF THE BAD 
LITTLE BOY 1 

ONCE there was a bad little boy whose name was 
Jim though, if you will notice, you will find 
that bad little boys are nearly always called James 
in your Sunday-school books. It was strange, but 
still it was true, that this one was called Jim. 

He didn't have any sick mother, either a sick 
mother who was pious and had the consumption, 
and would be glad to lie down in the grave and be 
at rest but for the strong love she bore her boy, 
and the anxiety she felt that the world might be 
harsh and cold toward him when she was gone. Most 
bad boys in the Sunday books are named James, and 
have sick mothers, who teach them to say, "Now, 
I lay me down," etc., and sing them to sleep with 
sweet, plaintive voices, and then kiss them good 
night, and kneel down by the bedside and weep. 
But it was different with this fellow. He was named 
Jim, and there wasn't anything the matter with his 
mother no consumption, nor anything of that kind. 
She was rather stout than otherwise, and she was not 
pious; moreover, she was not anxious on Jim's 
account. She said if he were to break his neck it 
wouldn't be much loss. She always spanked Jim 
1 Written about 1865. 
44 



STORY OF THE BAD LITTLE BOY 

to sleep, and she never kissed him good night; on 
the contrary, she boxed his ears when she was ready 
to leave him. 

Once this little bad boy stole the key of the 
pantry, and slipped in there and helped himself to 
some jam, and filled up the vessel with tar, so that 
his mother would never know the difference; but all 
at once a terrible feeling didn't come over him, and 
something didn't seem to whisper to him, "Is it 
right to disobey my mother? Isn't it sinful to do 
this? Where do bad little boys go who gobble up 
their good kind mother's jam?" and then he didn't 
kneel down all alone and promise never to be wicked 
any more, and rise up with a light, happy heart, and 
go and tell his mother all about it, and beg her for- 
giveness, and be blessed by her with tears of pride 
and thankfulness in her eyes. No; that is the way 
with all other bad boys in the books; but it hap- 
pened otherwise with this Jim, strangely enough. 
He ate that jam, and said it was bully, in his sinful, 
vulgar way; and he put in the tar, and said that was 
bully also, and laughed, and observed "that the old 
woman would get up and snort" when she found it 
out; and when she did find it out, he denied know- 
ing anything about it, and she whipped him severely, 
and he did the crying himself. Everything about 
this boy was curious everything turned out differ- 
ently with him from the way it does to the bad 
Jameses in the books. 

Once he climbed up in Farmer Acorn's apple tree 
to steal apples, and the limb didn't break, and he 
didn't fall and break his arm, and get torn by the 

45 



MARK TWAIN 

farmer's great dog, and then languish on a sickbed 
for weeks, and repent and become good. Oh, no; 
he stole as many apples as he wanted and came 
down all right; and he was all ready for the dog, 
too, and knocked him endways with a brick when 
he came to tear him. It was very strange nothing 
like it ever happened in those mild little books with 
marbled backs, and with pictures in them of men 
with swallow-tailed coats and bell-crowned hats, and 
pantaloons that are short in the legs, and women with 
the waists of their dresses under their arms, and no 
hoops on. Nothing like it in any of the Sunday- 
school books. 

Once he stole the teacher's penknife, and, when 
he was afraid it would be found out and he would 
get whipped, he slipped it into George Wilson's cap 
poor Widow Wilson's son, the moral boy, the good 
little boy of the village, who always obeyed his 
mother, and never told an untruth, and was fond of 
his lessons, and infatuated with Sunday-school. And 
when the knife dropped from the cap, and poor 
George hung his head and blushed, as if in conscious 
guilt, and the grieved teacher charged the theft upon 
him, and was just in the very act of bringing the 
switch down upon his trembling shoulders, a white- 
haired, improbable justice of the peace did not 
suddenly appear in their midst, and strike an atti- 
tude and say, "Spare this noble boy there stands 
the cowering culprit ! I was passing the school door 
at recess, and, unseen myself, I saw the theft com- 
mitted!" And then Jim didn't get whaled, and the 
venerable justice didn't read the tearful school a 

46 



STORY OF THE BAD LITTLE BOY 

homily, and take George by the hand and say such 
a boy deserved to be exalted, and then tell him to 
come and make his home with him, and sweep out 
the office, and make fires, and run errands, and chop 
wood, and study law, and help his wife do household 
labors, and have all the balance of the time to play, 
and get forty cents a month, and be happy. No; 
it would have happened that way in the books, but 
it didn't happen that way to Jim. No meddling old 
clam of a justice dropped in to make trouble, and 
so the model boy George got thrashed, and Jim was 
glad of it because, you know, Jim hated moral 
boys. Jim said he was "down on them milksops." 
Such was the coarse language of this bad, neglected 
boy. 

But the strangest thing that ever happened to Jim 
was the time he went boating on Sunday, and didn't 
get drowned, and that other time that he got caught 
out in the storm when he was fishing on Sunday, 
and didn't get struck by lightning. Why, you might 
look, and look, all through the Sunday-school books 
from now till next Christmas, and you would never 
come across anything like this. Oh, no; you would 
find that all the bad boys who go boating on Sunday 
invariably get drowned; and all the bad boys who 
get caught out in storms when they are fishing on 
Sunday infallibly get struck by lightning. Boats 
with bad boys in them always upset on Sunday, and 
it always storms when bad boys go fishing on the 
Sabbath. How this Jim ever escaped is a mystery 
to me. 

This Jim bore a charmed life that must have 

47 



MARK TWAIN 

been the way of it. Nothing could hurt him. He 
even gave the elephant in the menagerie a plug of 
tobacco, and the elephant didn't knock the top of 
his head off with his trunk. He browsed around the 
cupboard after essence of peppermint, and didn't 
make a mistake and drink aqua fortis. He stole his 
father's gun and went hunting on the Sabbath, and 
didn't shoot three or four of his fingers off. He 
struck his little sister on the temple with his fist 
when he was angry, and she didn't linger in pain 
through long summer days, and die with sweet words 
of forgiveness upon her lips that redoubled the 
anguish of his breaking heart. No; she got over it. 
He ran off and went to sea at last, and didn't come 
back and find himself sad and alone in the world, 
his loved ones sleeping in the quiet churchyard, and 
the vine-embowered home of his boyhood tumbled 
down and gone to decay. Ah, no; he came home 
as drunk as a piper, and got into the station-house 
the first thing. 

And he grew up and married, and raised a large 
family, and brained them all with an ax one night, 
and got wealthy by all manner of cheating and 
rascality; and now he is the infernalest wickedest 
scoundrel in his native village, and is universally 
respected, and belongs to the legislature. 

So you see there never was a bad James in the 
Sunday-school books that had such a streak of luck 
as this sinful Jim with the charmed life. 



THE STORY OF THE GOOD 
LITTLE BOY 1 

ONCE there was a good little boy by the name of 
Jacob Blivens. He always obeyed his parents, 
no matter how absurd and unreasonable their de- 
mands were; and he always learned his book, and 
never was late at Sabbath-school. He would not 
play hookey, even when his sober judgment told 
him it was the most profitable thing he could do. 
None of the other boys could ever make that boy 
out, he acted so strangely. He wouldn't lie, no 
matter how convenient it was. He just said it was 
wrong to lie, and that was sufficient for him. And 
he was so honest that he was simply ridiculous. The 
curious ways that that Jacob had, surpassed every- 
thing. He wouldn't play marbles on Sunday, he 
wouldn't rob birds' nests, he wouldn't give hot pen- 
nies to organ-grinders' monkeys; he didn't seem to 
take any interest in any kind of rational amusement. 
So the other boys used to try to reason it out and 
come to an understanding of him, but they couldn't 
arrive at any satisfactory conclusion. As I said be- 
fore, they could only figure out a sort of vague idea 
that he was "afflicted," and so they took him under 
their protection, and never allowed any harm to 
come to him. 

1 Written about 1865. 
49 



MARK TWAIN 

This good little boy read all the Sunday-school 
books ; they were his greatest delight. This was the 
whole secret of it. He believed in the good little 
boys they put in the Sunday-school books; he had 
every confidence in them. He longed to come across 
one of them alive once; but he never did. They all 
died before his time, maybe. Whenever he read 
about a particularly good one he turned over quickly 
to the end to see what became of him, because he 
wanted to travel thousands of miles and gaze on 
him; but it wasn't any use; that good little boy 
always died in the last chapter, and there was a 
picture of the funeral, with all his relations and the 
Sunday-school children standing around the grave in 
pantaloons that were too short, and bonnets that 
were too large, and everybody crying into handker- 
chiefs that had as much as a yard and a half of 
stuff in them. He was always headed off in this 
way. He never could see one of those good little 
boys on account of his always dying in the last 
chapter. 

Jacob had a noble ambition to be put in a Sunday- 
school book. He wanted to be put in, with pictures 
representing him gloriously declining to lie to his 
mother, and her weeping for joy about it; and pic- 
tures representing him standing on the doorstep 
giving a penny to a poor beggar-woman with six 
children, and telling her to spend it freely, but not 
to be extravagant, because extravagance is a sin; and 
pictures of him magnanimously refusing to tell on 
the bad boy who always lay in wait for him around 
the corner as he came from school, and welted him 

50 



STORY OF THE GOOD LITTLE BOY 

over the head with a lath, and then chased him 
home, saying, "Hi! hi!" as he proceeded. That was 
the ambition of young Jacob Blivens. He wished 
to be put in a Sunday-school book. It made him 
feel a little uncomfortable sometimes when he re- 
flected that the good little boys always died. He 
loved to live, you know, and this was the most un- 
pleasant feature about being a Sunday-school-book 
boy. He knew it was not healthy to be good. He 
knew it was more fatal than consumption to be so 
supernaturally good as the boys in the books were; 
he knew that none of them had ever been able to 
stand it long, and it pained him to think that if 
they put him in a book he wouldn't ever see it, or 
even if they did get the book out before he died it 
wouldn't be popular without any picture of his 
funeral in the back part of it. It couldn't be much 
of a Sunday-school book that couldn't tell about 
the advice he gave to the community when he was 
dying. So at last, of course, he had to make up his 
mind to do the best he could under the circumstances 
to live right, and hang on as long as he could, 
and have his dying speech all ready when his time 
came. 

But somehow nothing ever went right with this 
good little boy; nothing ever turned out with him 
the way it turned out with the good little boys in 
the books. They always had a good time, and the 
bad boys had the broken legs; but in his case there 
was a screw loose somewhere, and it all happened 
just the other way. When he found Jim Blake 
stealing apples, and went under the tree to read to 



MARK TWAIN 

him about the bad little boy who fell out of a neigh- 
bor's apple tree and broke his arm, Jim fell out of 
the tree, too, but he fell on him and broke his arm, 
and Jim wasn't hurt at all. Jacob couldn't under- 
stand that. There wasn't anything in the books 
like it. 

And once, when some bad boys pushed a blind 
man over in the mud, and Jacob ran to help him 
up and receive his blessing, the blind man did not 
give him any blessing at all, but whacked him over 
the head with his stick and said he would like to 
catch him shoving him again, and then pretend- 
ing to help him up. This was not in accordance 
with any of the books. Jacob looked them all over 
to see. 

One thing that Jacob wanted to do was to find 
a lame dog that hadn't any place to stay, and was 
hungry and persecuted, and bring him home and 
pet him and have that dog's imperishable gratitude. 
And at last he found one and was happy; and he 
brought him home and fed him, but when he was 
going to pet him the dog flew at him and tore all the 
clothes off him except those that were in front, and 
made a spectacle of him that was astonishing. He 
examined authorities, but he could not understand 
the matter. It was of the same breed of dogs that 
was in the books, but it acted very differently. 
Whatever this boy did he got into trouble. The 
very things the boys in the books got rewarded for 
turned out to be about the most unprofitable things 
he could invest in. 

Once, when he was on his way to Sunday-school, 

52 



STORY OF THE GOOD LITTLE BOY 

he saw some bad boys starting off pleasuring in a 
sailboat. He was filled with consternation, because 
he knew from his reading that boys who went sail- 
ing on Sunday invariably got drowned. So he ran 
out on a raft to warn them, but a log turned with 
him and slid him into the river. A man got him out 
pretty soon, and the doctor pumped the water out 
of him, and gave him a fresh start with his bellows, 
but he caught cold and lay sick abed nine weeks. 
But the most unaccountable thing about it was that 
the bad boys in the boat had a good time all day, 
and then reached home alive and well in the most 
surprising manner. Jacob Blivens said there was 
nothing like these things in the books. He was 
perfectly dumfounded. 

When he got well he was a little discouraged, but 
he resolved to keep on trying anyhow. He knew 
that so far his experiences wouldn't do to go in a 
book, but he hadn't yet reached the allotted term of 
life for good little boys, and he hoped to be able to 
make a record yet if he could hold on till his time 
was fully up. If everything else failed he had his 
dying speech to fall back on. 

He examined his authorities, and found that it 
was now time for him to go to sea as a cabin-boy. 
He called on a ship-captain and made his applica- 
tion, and when the captain asked for his recommenda- 
tions he proudly drew out a tract and pointed to 
the word, "To Jacob Blivens, from his affectionate 
teacher." But the captain was a coarse, vulgar man, 
and he said, "Oh, that be blowed! that wasn't any 
proof that he knew how to wash dishes or handle a 

53 



MARK TWAIN 

slush-bucket, and he guessed he didn't want him." 
This was altogether the most extraordinary thing 
that ever happened to Jacob in all his life. A 
compliment from a teacher, on a tract, had never 
failed to move the tenderest emotions of ship-cap- 
tains, and open the way to all offices of honor and 
profit in their gift it never had in any book that 
ever he had read. He could hardly believe his 
senses. 

This boy always had a hard time of it. Nothing 
ever came out according to the authorities with him. 
At last, one day, when he was around hunting up 
bad little boys to admonish, he found a lot of them 
in the old iron-foundry fixing up a little joke on 
fourteen or fifteen dogs, which they had tied to- 
gether in long procession, and were going to orna- 
ment with empty nitroglycerin cans made fast to 
their tails. Jacob's heart was touched. He sat 
down on one of those cans (for he never minded 
grease when duty was before him), and he took hold 
of the foremost dog by the collar, and turned his 
reproving eye upon wicked Tom Jones. But just at 
that moment Alderman McWelter, full of wrath, 
stepped in. All the bad boys ran away, but Jacob 
Blivens rose in conscious innocence and began one 
of those stately little Sunday-school-book speeches 
which always commence with "Oh, sir!" in dead 
opposition to the fact that no boy, good or bad, ever 
starts a remark with "Oh, sir." But the alderman 
never waited to hear the rest. He took Jacob 
Blivens by the ear and turned him around, and hit 
him a whack in the rear with the flat of his hand; 

54 



STORY OF THE GOOD LITTLE BOY 

and in an instant that good little boy shot out 
through the roof and soared away toward the sun, 
with the fragments of those fifteen dogs stringing 
after him like the tail of a kite. And there wasn't 
a sign of that alderman or that old iron-foundry left 
on the face of the earth; and, as for young Jacob 
Blivens, he never got a chance to make his last 
dying speech after all his trouble fixing it up, unless 
he made it to the birds; because, although the bulk 
of him came down all right in a tree-top in an ad- 
joining county, the rest of him was apportioned 
around among four townships, and so they had to 
hold five inquests on him to find out whether he was 
dead or not, and how it occurred. You never saw 
a boy scattered so. 1 

Thus perished the good little boy who did the 
best he could, but didn't come out according to the 
books. Every boy who ever did as he did pros- 
pered except him. His case is truly remarkable. 
It will probably never be accounted for. 



glycerin catastrophe is borrowed from a floating newspaper 
item, whose author's name I would give if I knew it. [M. T.J 



A COUPLE OF POEMS BY TWAIN 
AND MOORE 1 

THOSE EVENING BELLS 

BY THOMAS MOORE 

Those evening bells! those evening bells! 
How many a tale their music tells 
Of youth, and home, and that sweet time 
When last I heard their soothing chime. 

Those joyous hours are passed away; 
And many a heart that then was gay, 
Within the tomb now darkly dwells, 
And hears no more those evening bells. 

And so 'twill be when I am gone 
That tuneful peal will still ring on; 
While other bards shall walk these dells, 
And sing your praise, sweet evening bells. 

THOSE ANNUAL BILLS 

BY MARK TWAIN 

These annual bills! these annual bills! 
How many a song their discord trills 
Of "truck" consumed, enjoyed, forgot, 
Since I was skinned by last year's lot! 

1 Written about 1865. 
56 



POEMS BY TWAIN AND MOORE 

Those joyous beans are passed away; 
Those onions blithe, O where are they? 
Once loved, lost, mourned now vexing ILLS 
Your shades troop back in annual bills! 

And so 'twill be when I'm aground 
These yearly duns will still go round, 
While other bards, with frantic quills, 
Shall damn and damn these annual bills! 



NIAGARA 1 

NIAGARA FALLS is a most enjoyable place 
of resort. The hotels are excellent, and the 
prices not at all exorbitant. The opportunities for 
fishing are not surpassed in the country; in fact, 
they are not even equaled elsewhere. Because, in 
other localities, certain places in the streams are 
much better than others; but at Niagara one place 
is just as good as another, for the reason that the 
fish do not bite anywhere, and so there is no use in 
your walking five miles to fish, when you can depend 
on being just as unsuccessful nearer home. The ad- 
vantages of this state of things have never heretofore 
been properly placed before the public. 

The weather is cool in summer, and the walks and 
drives are all pleasant and none of them fatiguing. 
When you start out to "do" the Falls you first drive 
down about a mile, and pay a small sum for the 
privilege of looking down from a precipice into the 
narrowest part of the Niagara River. A railway 
"cut" through a hill would be as comely if it had 
the angry river tumbling and foaming through its 
bottom. You can descend a staircase here a hundred 
and fifty feet down, and stand at the edge of the 
water. After you have done it, you will wonder why 
you did it ; but you will then be too late. 
1 Written about 1871. 
58 



NIAGARA 

The guide will explain to you, in his blood-curdling 
way, how he saw the little steamer, Maid of the Mist, 
descend the fearful rapids how first one paddle-box 
was out of sight behind the raging billows and then 
the other, and at what point it was that her smoke- 
stack toppled overboard, and where her planking 
began to break and part asunder and how she did 
finally live through the trip, after accomplishing the 
incredible feat of traveling seventeen miles in six 
minutes, or six miles in seventeen minutes, I have 
really forgotten which. But it was very extra- 
ordinary, anyhow. It is worth the price of admis- 
sion to hear the guide tell the story nine times in 
succession to different parties, and never miss a 
word or alter a sentence or a gesture. 

Then you drive over to Suspension Bridge, and 
divide your misery between the chances of smash- 
ing down two hundred feet into the river below, and 
the chances of having the railway-train overhead 
smashing down onto you. Either possibility is dis- 
comforting taken by itself, but, mixed together, they 
amount in the aggregate to positive unhappiness. 

On the Canada side you drive along the chasm 
between long ranks of photographers standing guard 
behind their cameras, ready to make an ostentatious 
frontispiece of you and your decaying ambulance, 
and your solemn crate with a hide on it, which you 
are expected to regard in the light of a horse, and a 
diminished and unimportant background of sublime 
Niagara; and a great many people have the incredible 
effrontery or the native depravity to aid and abet 
this sort of crime. 

59 



MARK TWAIN 

Any day, in the hands of these photographers, you 
may see stately pictures of papa and mamma, Johnny 
and Bub and Sis. or a couple of country cousins, all 
smiling vacantly, and all disposed in studied and 
uncomfortable attitudes in their carriage, and all 
looming up in their awe-inspiring imbecility before 
the snubbed and diminished presentment of that 
majestic presence whose ministering spirits are the 
rainbows, whose voice is the thunder, whose awful 
front is veiled in clouds, who was monarch here dead 
and forgotten ages before this hackful of small 
reptiles was deemed temporarily necessary to fill a 
crack in the world's unnoted myriads, and will still 
be monarch here ages and decades of ages after they 
shall have gathered themselves to their blood-rela- 
tions, the other worms, and been mingled with the 
unremembering dust. 

There is no actual harm in making Niagara a 
background whereon to display one's marvelous in- 
significance in a good strong light, but it requires a 
sort of superhuman self-complacency to enable one 
to do it. 

When you have examined the stupendous Horse- 
shoe Fall till you are satisfied you cannot improve 
on it, you return to America by the new Suspension 
Bridge, and follow up the bank to where they ex- 
hibit the Cave of the Winds. 

Here I followed instructions, and divested myself 
of all my clothing, and put on a waterproof jacket 
and overalls. This costume is picturesque, but not 
beautiful. A guide, similarly dressed, led the way 
down a flight of winding stairs, which wound and 

60 



NIAGARA 

wound, and still kept on winding long after the thing 
ceased to be a novelty, and then terminated long 
before it had begun to be a pleasure. We were then 
well down under the precipice, but still considerably 
above the level of the river. 

We now began to creep along flimsy bridges of a 
single plank, our persons shielded from destruction 
by a crazy wooden railing, to which I clung with 
both hands not because I was afraid, but because 
I wanted to. Presently the descent became steeper, 
and the bridge flimsier, and sprays from the American 
Fall began to rain down on us in fast increasing 
sheets that soon became blinding, and after that our 
progress was mostly in the nature of groping. Now 
a furious wind began to rush out from behind the 
waterfall, which seemed determined to sweep us 
from the bridge, and scatter us on the rocks and 
among the torrents below. I remarked that I 
wanted to go home; but it was too late. We were 
almost under the monstrous wall of water thundering 
down from above, and speech was in vain in the 
midst of such a pitiless crash of sound. 

In another moment the guide disappeared behind 
the deluge, and, bewildered by the thunder, driven 
helplessly by the wind, and smitten by the arrowy 
tempest of rain, I followed. All was darkness. Such 
a mad storming, roaring, and bellowing of warring 
wind and water never crazed my ears before. I bent 
my head, and seemed to receive the Atlantic on my 
back. The world seemed going to destruction. I 
could not see anything, the flood poured down so 
savagely. I raised my head, with open mouth, and 

61 



MARK TWAIN 

the most of the American cataract went down my 
throat. If I had sprung a leak now I had been lost. 
And at this moment I discovered that the bridge had 
ceased, and we must trust for a foothold to the 
slippery and precipitous rocks. I never was so scared 
before and survived it. But we got through at last, 
and emerged into the open day, where we could 
stand in front of the laced and frothy and seething 
world of descending water, and look at it. When 
I saw how much of it there was, and how fear- 
fully in earnest it was, I was sorry I had gone 
behind it. 

The noble Red Man has always been a friend and 
darling of mine. I love to read about him in tales 
and legends and romances. I love to read of his 
inspired sagacity, and his love of the wild free life 
of mountain and forest, and his general nobility of 
character, and his stately metaphorical manner of 
speech, and his chivalrous love for the dusky maiden, 
and the picturesque pomp of his dress and accoutre- 
ments. Especially the picturesque pomp of his dress 
and accoutrements. When I found the shops at 
Niagara Falls full of dainty Indian beadwork, and 
stunning moccasins, and equally stunning toy fig- 
ures representing human beings who carried their 
weapons in holes bored through their arms and 
bodies, and had feet shaped like a pie, I was filled 
with emotion. I knew that now, at last, I was going 
to come face to face with the noble Red Man. 

A lady clerk in a shop told me, indeed, that all 
her grand array of curiosities were made by the 
Indians, and that they were plenty about the Falls, 

62 



NIAGARA 

and that they were friendly, and it would not be 
dangerous to speak to them. And sure enough, as 
I approached the bridge leading over to Luna Island, 
I came upon a noble Son of the Forest sitting under 
a tree, diligently at work on a bead reticule. He 
wore a slouch hat and brogans, and had a short black 
pipe in his mouth. Thus does the baneful contact 
with our effeminate civilization dilute the picturesque 
pomp which is so natural to the Indian when far 
removed from us in his native haunts. I addressed 
the relic as follows : 

"Is the Wawhoo- Wang- Wang of the Whack-a- 
Whack happy? Does the great Speckled Thunder 
sigh for the war-path, or is his heart contented with 
dreaming of the dusky maiden, the Pride of the 
Forest? Does the mighty Sachem yearn to drink 
the blood of his enemies, or is he satisfied to make 
bead reticules for the pappooses of the paleface? 
Speak, sublime relic of bygone grandeur venerable 
ruin, speak!" 

The relic said : 

"An' is it mesilf, Dennis Hooligan, that ye'd be 
takin' for a dirty Injin, ye drawlin', lantern-jawed, 
spider-legged divil ! By the piper that played before 
Moses, I'll ate ye!" 

I went away from there. 

By and by, in the neighborhood of the Terrapin 
Tower, I came upon a gentle daughter of the aborig- 
ines in fringed and beaded buckskin moccasins and 
leggins, seated on a bench with her pretty wares 
about her. She had just carved out a wooden chief 
that had a strong family resemblance to a clothes- 

63 



MARK TWAIN 

pin, and was now boring a hole through his abdomen 
to put his bow through. I hesitated a moment, and 
then addressed her: 

"Is the heart of the forest maiden heavy? Is the 
Laughing Tadpole lonely ? Does she mourn over the 
extinguished council-fires of her race, and the van- 
ished glory of her ancestors? Or does her sad spirit 
wander afar toward the hunting-grounds whither her 
brave Gobbler-of-the-Lightnings is gone? Why is 
my daughter silent? Has she aught against the 
paleface stranger?" 

The maiden said : 

"Faix, an' is it Biddy Malone ye dare to be callin' 
names? Lave this, or I'll shy your lean carcass over 
the cataract, ye sniveling blaggard!" 

I adjourned from there also. 

"Confound these Indians!" I said. "They told 
me they were tame; but, if appearances go for 
anything, I should say they were all on the war- 
path." 

I made one more attempt to fraternize with them,, 
and only one. I came upon a camp of them gath- 
ered in the shade of a great tree, making wampum 
and moccasins, and addressed them in the language 
of friendship: 

"Noble Red Men, Braves, Grand Sachems, War 
Chiefs, Squaws, and High Muck-a-Mucks, the pale- 
face from the land of the setting sun greets you! 
You, Beneficent Polecat you, Devourer of Moun- 
tains you, Roaring Thundergust you, Bully 
Boy with a Glass eye the paleface from beyond 
the great waters greets you all ! War and pestilence 

64 



NIAGARA 

have thinned your ranks and destroyed your once 
proud nation. Poker and seven - up, and a vain 
modern expense for soap, unknown to your glorious 
ancestors, have depleted your purses. Appropriat- 
ing, in your simplicity, the property of others has 
gotten you into trouble. Misrepresenting facts, in 
your simple innocence, has damaged your reputa- 
tion with the soulless usurper. Trading for forty- 
rod whisky, to enable you to get drunk and happy 
and tomahawk your families, has played the ever- 
lasting mischief with the picturesque pomp of your 
dress, and here you are, in the broad light of the 
nineteenth century, gotten up like the ragtag and 
bobtail of the purlieus of New York. For shame! 
Remember your ancestors! Recall their mighty 
deeds! Remember Uncas! and Red Jacket! 
and Hole in the Day ! and Whoopdedoodledo ! 
Emulate their achievements! Unfurl yourselves 
under my banner, noble savages, illustrious gutter- 
snipes " 

" Down wid him!" "Scoop the blaggard!" "Burn 
him!" "Hang him!" "Dhround him!" 

It was the quickest operation that ever was. I 
simply saw a sudden flash in the air of clubs, brick- 
bats, fists, bead-baskets, and moccasins a single 
flash, and they all appeared to hit me at once, and 
no two of them in the same place. In the next 
instant the entire tribe was upon me. They tore half 
the clothes off me; they broke my arms and legs; 
they gave me a thump that dented the top of my 
head till it would hold coffee like a saucer; and, to 
crown their disgraceful proceedings and add insult 

65 



MARK TWAIN 

to injury, they threw me over the Niagara Falls, and 
I got wet. 

About ninety or a hundred feet from the top, the 
remains of my vest caught on a projecting rock, and 
I was almost drowned before I could get loose. I 
finally fell, and brought up in a world of white foam 
at the foot of the Fall, whose celled and bubbly 
masses towered up several inches above my head. 
Of course I got into the eddy. I sailed round and 
round in it forty-four times chasing a chip and 
gaining on it each round trip a half-mile reach- 
ing for the same bush on the bank forty-four times, 
and just exactly missing it by a hair's-breadth every 
time. 

At last a man walked down and sat down close to 
that bush, and put a pipe in his mouth, and lit a 
match, and followed me with one eye and kept the 
other on the match, while he sheltered it in his 
hands from the wind. Presently a puff of wind 
blew it out. The next time I swept around he said : 

"Got a match?" 

"Yes; in my other vest. Help me out, please." 

"Not for Joe." 

When I came round again, I said : 

"Excuse the seemingly impertinent curiosity of a 
drowning man, but will you explain this singular 
conduct of yours?" 

"With pleasure. I am the coroner. Don't hurry 
on my account. I can wait for you. But I wish I 
had a match." 

I said: "Take my place, and I'll go and get you 
one." 

66 



NIAGARA 

He declined. This lack of confidence on his part 
created a coldness between us, and from that time 
forward I avoided him. It was my idea, in case 
anything happened to me, to so time the occurrence 
as to throw my custom into the hands of the oppo- 
sition coroner on the American side. 

At last a policeman came along, and arrested 
me for disturbing the peace by yelling at people 
on shore for help. The judge fined me, but I 
had the advantage of him. My money was with 
my pantaloons, and my pantaloons were with the 
Indians. 

Thus I escaped. I am now lying in a very critical 
condition. At least I am lying anyway critical 
or not critical. I am hurt all over, but I cannot tell 
the full extent yet, because the doctor is not done 
taking inventory. He will make out my manifest 
this evening. However, thus far he thinks only 
sixteen of my wounds are fatal. I don't mind the 
others. 

Upon regaining my right mind, I said: 

"It is an awful savage tribe of Indians that do 
the beadwork and moccasins for Niagara Falls, 
doctor. Where are they from?" 

"Limerick, my son," 



ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS 1 

MORAL STATISTICIAN." I don't want any 
of your statistics; I took your whole batch 
and lit my pipe with it. I hate your kind of people. 
You are always ciphering out how much a man's 
health is injured, and how much his intellect is im- 
paired, and how many pitiful dollars and cents he 
wastes in the course of ninety-two years' indulgence 
in the fatal practice of smoking; and in the equally 
fatal practice of drinking coffee; and in playing bill- 
iards occasionally; and in taking a glass of wine at 
dinner, etc., etc., etc. And you are always figuring 
out how many women have been burned to death 
because of the dangerous fashion of wearing ex- 
pansive hoops, etc., etc., etc. You never see more 
than one side of the question. You are blind to the 
fact that most old men in America smoke and drink 
coffee, although, according to your theory, they 
ought to have died young; and that hearty old 
Englishmen drink wine and survive it, and portly 
old Dutchmen both drink and smoke freely, and yet 
grow older and fatter all the time. And you never 
try to find out how much solid comfort, relaxation, 
and enjoyment a man derives from smoking in the 
course of a lifetime (which is worth ten times the 

1 Written about 1865. 
68 



ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS 

money he would save by letting it alone), nor the 
appalling aggregate of happiness lost in a lifetime by 
your kind of people from not smoking. Of course 
you can save money by denying yourself all those 
little vicious enjoyments for fifty years; but then 
what can you do with it? What use can you put 
it to? Money can't save your infinitesimal soul. 
All the use that money can be put to is to purchase 
comfort and enjoyment in this life; therefore, as you 
are an enemy to comfort and enjoyment, where is the 
use of accumulating cash? It won't do for you to 
say that you can use it to better purpose in furnishing 
a good table, and in charities, and in supporting tract 
societies, because you know yourself that you people 
who have no petty vices are never known to give 
away a cent, and that you stint yourselves so in the 
matter of food that you are always feeble and hungry. 
And you never dare to laugh in the daytime for fear 
some poor wretch, seeing you in a good humor, will 
try to borrow a dollar of you; and in church you are 
always down on your knees, with your eyes buried 
in the cushion, when the contribution-box comes 
around; and you never give the revenue officers a 
full statement of your income. Now you know all 
these things yourself, don't you? Very well, then, 
what is the use of your stringing out your miserable 
lives to a lean and withered old age? What is the 
use of your saving money that is so utterly worthless 
to you? In a word, why don't you go off some- 
where and die, and not be always trying to seduce 
people into becoming as "ornery" and unlovable 
as you are yourselves, by your villainous "moral 

69 



statistics"? Now I don't approve of dissipation, 
and I don't indulge in it, either; but I haven't a 
particle of confidence in a man who has no redeem- 
ing petty vices, and so I don't want to hear from 
you any more. I think you are the very same man 
who read me a long lecture last week about the 
degrading vice of smoking cigars, and then came 
back, in my absence, with your reprehensible fire- 
proof gloves on, and carried off my beautiful parlor 
stove. 

" YOUNG AUTHOR." Yes, Agassiz does recommend 
authors to eat fish, because the phosphorus in it 
makes brain. So far you are correct. But I can- 
not help you to a decision about the amount you 
need to eat at least, not with certainty. If the 
specimen composition you send is about your fan- 
usual average, I should judge that perhaps a couple 
of whales would be all you would want for the 
present. Not the largest kind, but simply good, 
middling-sized whales. 

"SiMON WHEELER," Sonora. The following sim- 
ple and touching remarks and accompanying poem 
have just come to hand from the rich gold-mining 
region of Sonora: 

To Mr. Mark Twain: The within parson, which I have set to 
poetry under the name and style of "He Done His Level Best," 
was one among the whitest men I ever see, and it ain't every man 
that knowed him that can find it in his heart to say he's glad the 
poor cuss is busted and gone home to the States. He was here 
in an early day, and he was the handyest man about takin' holt 

70 



ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS 

of anything that come along you most ever see, I judge. He 
was a cheerful, stirrin' cretur, always doin' something and no 
man can say he ever see him do anything by halvers. Preachin' 
was his nateral gait, but he warn't a man to lay back and 
twidle his thumbs because there didn't happen to be nothin' doin' 
in his own especial line no, sir, he was a man who would 
meander forth and stir up something for hisself . His last acts 
was to go his pile on "Kings-awT* (calklatin' to fill, but which 
he didn't fill), when there was a "flush" out agin him, and 
naterally, you see, he went under. And so he was cleaned out, 
as you may say, and he struck the home-trail, cheerful but flat 
broke. I knowed this talonted man in Arkansaw, and if you 
would print this humbly tribute to his gorgis abilities, you would 
greatly obleege his onhappy friend. 

HE DONE HIS LEVEL BEST 

Was he a mining on the flat 

He done it with a zest; 
Was he a leading of the choir 

He done bis level best. 

If he'd a reg'iar task to do, 

He never took no rest; 
Or if 'twas off-and-on the same 

He done his level best. 

If he was preachin' on his beat, 
He'd tramp from east to west, 

And north to south in cold and heat 
He done his level best. 

He'd yank a. sinner outen (Hades), 1 

And land him with the blest; 
Then snatch a prayer'n waltz in again. 

And do his level best. 

'Here I have taken a slight liberty with the original MS. 
"Hades" does not make such good meter as the other word of one 
syllable, but it sounds better. 

71 



MARK TWAIN 

He'd cuss and sing and howl and pray, 
And dance and drink and jest, 

And lie and steal all one to him 
He done his level best. 

Whate'er this man was sot to do, 

He done it with a zest; 
No matter what his contract was, 

HE'D DO HIS LEVEL BEST. 

Verily, this man was gifted with "gorgis abili- 
ties," and it is a happiness to me to embalm the 
memory of their luster in these columns. If it were 
not that the poet crop is unusually large and rank in 
California this year, I would encourage you to con- 
tinue writing, Simon Wheeler; but, as it is, perhaps 
it might be too risky in you to enter against so 
much opposition. 

"PROFESSIONAL BEGGAR." No; you are not 
obliged to take greenbacks at par. 

"MELTON MOWBRAY,"* Dutch Flat. This cor- 
respondent sends a lot of doggerel, and says it has 
been regarded as very good in Dutch Flat. I give 
a specimen verse: 

The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold, 
And his cohorts were gleaming with purple and gold; 
And the sheen of his spears was like stars on the sea, 
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee. 

There, that will do. That may be very good 
Dutch Flat poetry, but it won't do in the metropolis. 

1 This piece of pleasantry, published in a San Francisco paper, 
was mistaken by the country journals for seriousness, and many and 
loud were the denunciations of the ignorance of author and editor, 
in not knowing that the lines in question were "written by Byron." 

72 



ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS 

It is too smooth and blubbery; it reads like butter- 
milk gurgling from a jug. What the people ought 
to have is something spirited something like 
"Johnny Comes Marching Home." However, 
keep on practising, and you may succeed yet. 
There is genius in you, but too much blubber. 

"Sx. CLAIR HIGGINS." Los Angeles. "My life is a failure; 
I have adored, wildly, madly, and she whom I love has turned 
coldly from me and shed her affections upon another. What 
would you advise me to do?" 

You should set your affections on another also 
or on several, if there are enough to go round. 
Also, do everything you can to make your formei 
flame unhappy. There is an absurd idea dissemi- 
nated in novels, that the happier a girl is with 
another man, the happier it makes the old lover she 
has blighted. Don't allow yourself to believe any 
such nonsense as that. The more cause that girl 
finds to regret that she did not marry you, the more 
comfortable you will feel over it. It isn't poetical, 
but it is mighty sound doctrine. 

"ARITHMETICUS." Virginia, Nevada. "If it would take a 
cannon-ball 3-1 /3 seconds to travel four miles, and 3-3 /8 seconds 
to travel the next four, and 3-5 /8 to travel the next four, and if 
its rate of progress continued to diminish in the same ratio, 
how long would it take it to go fifteen hundred million miles?*' 

I don't know. 

"AMBITIOUS LEARNER," Oakland. Yes; you are 
right America was not discovered by Alexander 
Selkirk. 

73 



MARK TWAIN 

"DISCARDED LOVER." " I loved, and still love, the beautiful 
Edwitha Howard, and intended to marry her. Yet, during my 
temporary absence at Benicia, last week, alas I she married 
Jones. Is my happiness to be thus blasted for life? Have I 
no redress?" 

Of course you have. All the law, written and 
unwritten, is on your side. The intention and not 
the act constitutes crime in other words, consti- 
tutes the deed. If you call your bosom friend a 
fool, and intend it for an insult, it is an insult; but 
if you do it playfully, and meaning no insult, it is 
not an insult. If you discharge a pistol accidentally, 
and kill a man, you can go free, for you have done 
no murder; but if you try to kill a man, and mani- 
festly intend to kill him, but fail utterly to do it, the 
law still holds that the intention constituted the 
crime, and you are guilty of murder. Ergo, if you 
had married Edwitha accidentally, and without really 
intending to do it, you would not actually be mar- 
ried to her at all, because the act of marriage could 
not be complete without the intention. And ergo, 
in the strict spirit of the law, since you deliberately 
intended to marry Edwitha, and didn't do it, you 
are married to her all the same because, as I said 
before, the intention constitutes the crime. It is as 
clear as day that Edwitha is your wife, and your 
redress lies in taking a club and mutilating Jones 
with it as much as you can. Any man has a right 
to protect his own wife from the advances of other 
men. But you have another alternative you were 
married to Edwitha first, because of your deliberate 
intention, and now you can prosecute her for 

74 



ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS 

bigamy, in subsequently marrying Jones. But there 
is another phase in this complicated case: You in- 
tended to marry Edwitha, and consequently, accord- 
ing to law, she is your wife there is no getting 
around that; but she didn't marry you, and if she 
never intended to marry you, you are not her hus- 
band, of course. Ergo, in marrying Jones, she was 
guilty of bigamy, because she was the wife of an- 
other man at the time; which is all very well as 
far as it goes but then, don't you see, she had 
no other husband when she married Jones, and con- 
sequently she was not guilty of bigamy. Now, 
according to this view of the case, Jones married a 
spinster, who was a widow at the same time and 
another man's wife at the same time, and yet who 
had no husband and never had one, and never had 
any intention of getting married, and therefore, of 
course, never had been married; and by the same 
reasoning you are a bachelor, because you have 
never been any one's husband; and a married man, 
because you have a wife living; and to all intents 
and purposes a widower, because you have been 
deprived of that wife; and a consummate ass for 
going off to Benicia in the first place, while things 
were so mixed. And by this time I have got myself 
so tangled up in the intricacies of this extraordinary 
case that I shall have to give up any further attempt 
to advise you I might get confused and fail to 
make myself understood. I think I could take up 
the argument where I left off, and by following it 
closely awhile, perhaps I could prove to your satis- 
faction, either that you never existed at all, or that 

75 



MARK TWAIN 

you are dead now, and consequently don't need the 
faithless Edwitha I think I could do that, if it 
would afford you any comfort. 

"ARTHUR AUGUSTUS." No; you are wrong; 
that is the proper way to throw a brickbat or a 
tomahawk; but it doesn't answer so well for a bou- 
quet; you will hurt somebody if you keep it up. 
Turn your nosegay upside down, take it by the 
stems, and toss it with an upward sweep. Did you 
ever pitch quoits? that is the idea. The practice of 
recklessly heaving immense solid bouquets, of the 
general size and weight of prize cabbages, from the 
dizzy altitude of the galleries, is dangerous and very 
reprehensible. Now, night before last, at the Acad- 
emy of Music, just after Signorina had fin- 
ished that exquisite melody, "The Last Rose of 
Summer," one of these floral pile - drivers came 
cleaving down through the atmosphere of applause, 
and if she hadn't deployed suddenly to the right, it 
would have driven her into the floor like a shingle- 
nail. Of course that bouquet was well meant; but 
how would you like to have been the target? A 
sincere compliment is always grateful to a lady, so 
long as you don't try to knock her down with it. 

" YOUNG MOTHER." And so you think a baby is 
a thing of beauty and a joy forever? Well, the idea 
is pleasing, but not original; every cow thinks the 
same of its own calf. Perhaps the cow may not 
think it so elegantly, but still she thinks it never- 
theless. I honor the cow for it. We all honor this 

76 



ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS 

touching maternal instinct wherever we find it, be it 
in the home of luxury or in the humble cow-shed. 
But really, madam, when I come to examine the 
matter in all its bearings, I find that the correctness 
of your assertion does not assert itself in all cases. 
A soiled baby, with a neglected nose, cannot be 
conscientiously regarded as a thing of beauty; and 
inasmuch as babyhood spans but three short years, 
no baby is competent to be a joy "forever." It 
pains me thus to demolish two-thirds of your pretty 
sentiment in a single sentence; but the position I 
hold in this chair requires that I shall not permit 
you to deceive and mislead the public with your 
plausible figures of speech. I know a female baby, 
aged eighteen months, in this city, which cannot 
hold out as a "joy" twenty-four hours on a stretch, 
let alone "forever." And it possesses some of the 
most remarkable eccentricities of character and ap- 
petite that have ever fallen under my notice. I will 
set down here a statement of this infant's operations 
(conceived, planned, and carried out by itself, and 
without suggestion or assistance from its mother or 
any one else), during a single day; and what I shall 
say can be substantiated by the sworn testimony of 
witnesses. 

It commenced by eating one dozen large blue-mass 
pills, box and all; then it fell down a flight of stairs, 
and arose with a blue and purple knot on its fore- 
head, after which it proceeded in quest of further 
refreshment and amusement. It found a glass 
trinket ornamented with brass-work smashed up 
and ate the glass, and then swallowed the brass. 

77 



MARK TWAIN 

Then it drank about twenty drops of laudanum, and 
more than a dozen tablespoonfuls of strong spirits 
of camphor. The reason why it took no more 
laudanum was because there was no more to take. 
After this it lay down on its back, and shoved five 
or six inches of a silver-headed whalebone cane 
down its throat; got it fast there, and it was all its 
mother could do to pull the cane out again, without 
pulling out some of the child with it. Then, being 
hungry for glass again, it broke up several wine- 
glasses, and fell to eating and swallowing the frag- 
ments, not minding a cut or two. Then it ate a 
quantity of butter, pepper, salt, and California 
matches, actually taking a spoonful of butter, a 
spoonful of salt, a spoonful of pepper, and three or 
four lucifer matches at each mouthful. (I will re- 
mark here that this thing of beauty likes painted 
German lucifers, and eats all she can get of them; 
but she prefers California matches, which I regard 
as a compliment to our home manufactures of more 
than ordinary value, coming, as it does, from one 
who is too young to flatter.) Then she washed her 
head with soap and water, and afterward ate what 
soap was left, and drank as much of the suds as she 
had room for; after which she sallied forth and took 
the cow familiarly by the tail, and got kicked heels 
over head. At odd times during the day, when this 
joy forever happened to have nothing particular on 
hand, she put in the time by climbing up on places, 
and falling down off them, uniformly damaging her- 
self in the operation. As young as she is, she speaks 
many words tolerably distinctly; and being plain- 

78 



ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS 

spoken in other respects, blunt and to the point, she 
opens conversation with all strangers, male or female, 
with the same formula, "How do, Jim?" Not being 
familiar with the ways of children, it is possible that 
I have been magnifying into matter of surprise things 
which may not strike any one who is familiar with 
infancy as being at all astonishing. However, I 
cannot believe that such is the case, and so I repeat 
that my report of this baby's performances is strictly 
true; and if any one doubts it, I can produce the 
child. I will further engage that she will devour 
anything that is given her (reserving to myself only 
the right to exclude anvils), and fall down from any 
place to which she may be elevated (merely stipu- 
lating that her preference for alighting on her 
head shall be respected, and, therefore, that the 
elevation chosen shall be high enough to enable her 
to accomplish this to her satisfaction). But I find 
I have wandered from my subject; so, without 
further argument, I will reiterate my conviction 
that not all babies are things of beauty and joys 
forever. 

"ARITHMETICUS." Virginia, Nevada. "I am an enthusias- 
tic student of mathematics, and it is so vexatious to me to find 
my progress constantly impeded by these mysterious arith- 
metical technicalities. Now do tell me what the difference 
is between geometry and conchology?" 

Here you come again with your arithmetical con- 
undrums, when I am suffering death with a cold in 
the head. If you could have seen the expression of 
scorn that darkened my countenance a moment ago, 
and was instantly split from the center in every 

79 



MARK TWAIN 

direction like a fractured looking-glass by my last 
sneeze, you never would have written that disgrace- 
ful question. Conchology is a science which has 
nothing to do with mathematics; it relates only to 
shells. At the same time, however, a man who 
opens oysters for a hotel, or shells a fortified town, 
or sucks eggs, is not, strictly speaking, a concholo- 
gist a fine stroke of sarcasm that, but it will be 
lost on such an unintellectual clam as you. Now 
compare conchology and geometry together, and 
you will see what the difference is, and your ques- 
tion will be answered. But don't torture me with 
any more arithmetical horrors until you know I am 
rid of my cold. I feel the bitterest animosity toward 
you at this moment bothering me in this way, 
when I can do nothing but sneeze and rage and 
snort pocket-handkerchiefs to atoms. If I had you 
in range of my nose now I would blow your brains 
out. 



TO RAISE POULTRY 1 

OERIOUSLY, from early youth I have taken an 
v,^ especial interest in the subject of poultry-raising, 
and so this membership touches a ready sympathy 
in my breast. Even as a school-boy, poultry-raising 
was a study with me, and I may say without egotism 
that as early as the age of seventeen I was ac- 
quainted with all the best and speediest methods of 
raising chickens, from raising them off a roost by 
burning lucifer matches under their noses, down to 
lifting them off a fence on a frosty night by insinu- 
ating the end of a warm board under their heels. 
By the time I was twenty years old, I really suppose 
I had raised more poultry than any one individual 
in all the section round about there. The very 
chickens came to know my talent by and by. The 
youth of both sexes ceased to paw the earth for 
worms, and old roosters that came to crow, "re- 
mained to pray," when I passed by. 

I have had so much experience in the raising of 
fowls that I cannot but think that a few hints from 
me might be useful to the society. The two methods 
I have already touched upon are very simple, and 
are only used in the raising of the commonest class 

1 Being a letter written to a Poultry Society that had oonf erred 
a complimentary membership upon the author. Written about 1 870. 

81 



MARK TWAIN 

of fowls; one is for summer, the other for winter. 
In the one case you start out with a friend along 
about eleven o'clock on a summer's night (not later, 
because in some states especially in California and 
Oregon chickens always rouse up just at midnight 
and crow from ten to thirty minutes, according to 
the ease or difficulty they experience in getting the 
public waked up), and your friend carries with him 
a sack. Arrived at the henroost (your neighbor's, 
not your own), you light a match and hold it under 
first one and then another pullet's nose until they 
are willing to go into that bag without making any 
trouble about it. You then return home, either 
taking the bag with you or leaving it behind, accord- 
ing as circumstances shall dictate. N. B. I have 
seen the time when it was eligible and appropriate 
to leave the sack behind and walk off with consider- 
able velocity, without ever leaving any word where 
to send it. 

In the case of the other method mentioned for 
raising poultry, your friend takes along a covered 
vessel with a charcoal fire in it, and you carry a 
long slender plank. This is a frosty night, under- 
stand. Arrived at the tree, or fence, or other hen- 
roost (your own if you are an idiot), you warm the 
end of your plank in your friend's fire vessel, and 
then raise it aloft and ease it up gently against a 
slumbering chicken's foot. If the subject of your 
attentions is a true bird, he will infallibly return 
thanks with a sleepy cluck or two, and step out and 
take up quarters on the plank, thus becoming so 
conspicuously accessory before the fact to his own 

82 



RAISING POULTRY 

murder as to make it a grave question in our minds, 
as it once was in the mind of Blackstone, whether 
he is not really and deliberately committing suicide 
in the second degree. [But you enter into a con- 
templation of these legal refinements subsequently 
not then.] 

When you wish to raise a fine, large, donkey- 
voiced Shanghai rooster, you do it with a lasso, just 
as you would a bull. It is because he must be 
choked, and choked effectually, too. It is the only 
good, certain way, for whenever he mentions a matter 
which he is cordially interested in, the chances are 
ninety-nine in a hundred that he secures somebody 
else's immediate attention to it too, whether it be 
day or night. 

The Black Spanish is an exceedingly fine bird and 
a costly one. Thirty-five dollars is the usual figure, 
and fifty a not uncommon price for a specimen. 
Even its eggs are worth from a dollar to a dollar 
and a half apiece, and yet are so unwholesome that 
the city physician seldom or never orders them for 
the workhouse. Still I have once or twice procured 
as high as a dozen at a time for nothing, in the dark 
of the moon. The best way to raise the Black 
Spanish fowl is to go late in the evening and raise 
coop and all. The reason I recommend this method 
is that, the birds being so valuable, the owners do 
not permit them to roost around promiscuously, but 
put them in a coop as strong as a fireproof safe, 
and keep it in the kitchen at night. The method I 
speak of is not always a bright and satisfying suc- 
cess, and yet there are so many little articles of 

83 



MARK TWAIN 

vertu about a kitchen, that if you fail on the coop 
you can generally bring away something else. I 
brought away a nice steel trap one night, worth 
ninety cents. 

But what is the use in my pouring out my whole 
intellect on this subject ? I have shown the Western 
New York Poultry Society that they have taken to 
their bosom a party who is not a spring chicken by 
any means, but a man who knows all about poultry, 
and is just as high up in the most efficient methods 
of raising it as the president of the institution him- 
self. I thank these gentlemen for the honorary 
membership they have conferred upon me, and shall 
stand at all times ready and willing to testify my 
good feeling and my official zeal by deeds as well as 
by this hastily penned advice and information. 
Whenever they are ready to go to raising poultry, 
let them call for me any evening after eleven o'clock, 
and I shall be on hand promptly. 



EXPERIENCE OF THE McWILL- 
IAMSES WITH MEMBRANOUS 
CROUP 1 

[As related to the author of this book by Mr. Mc- 
Williams, a pleasant New York gentleman whom the 
said author met by chance on a journey.] 

WELL, to go back to where I was before I di- 
gressed to explain to you how that frightful 
and incurable disease, membranous croup, was 
ravaging the town and driving all mothers mad with 
terror, I called Mrs. McWilliams's attention to little 
Penelope, and said: 

"Darling, I wouldn't let that child be chewing 
that pine stick if I were you." 

"Precious, where is the harm in it?" said she, 
but at the same time preparing to take away the 
stick for women cannot receive even the most 
palpably judicious suggestion without arguing it; 
that is, married women. 

I replied: 

"Love, it is notorious that pine is the least nutri- 
tious wood that a child can eat." 

My wife's hand paused, in the act of taking the 
stick, and returned itself to her lap. She bridled 
perceptibly, and said : 

1 Written about 1878* 
85 



MARK TWAIN 

"Hubby, you know better than that. You know 
you do. Doctors all say that the turpentine in pine 
wood is good for weak back and the kidneys." 

"Ah I was under a misapprehension. I did 
not know that the child's kidneys and spine were 
affected, and that the family physician had recom- 
mended " 

"Who said the child's spine and kidneys were 
affected?" 

"My love, you intimated it." 

"The idea! I never intimated anything of the 
kind." 

"Why, my dear, it hasn't been two minutes since 
you said " 

"Bother what I said! I don't care what I did 
say. There isn't any harm in the child's chewing a 
bit of pine stick if she wants to, and you know it 
perfectly well. And she shall chew it, too. So 
there, now!" 

"Say no more, my dear. I now see the force of 
your reasoning, and I will go and order two or three 
cords of the best pine wood to-day. No child of 
mine shall want while I " 

"Oh, please go along to your office and let me 
have some peace. A body can never make the 
simplest remark but you must take it up and go to 
arguing and arguing and arguing till you don't know 
what you are talking about, and you never do." 

"Very well, it shall be as you say. But there is 
a want of logic in your last remark which " 

However, she was gone with a flourish before I 
could finish, and had taken the child with her. That 

86 



THE MEMBRANOUS CROUP 

night at dinner she confronted me with a face as 
white as a sheet: 

"Oh, Mortimer, there's another! Little Georgie 
Gordon is taken." 

"Membranous croup?" 

"Membranous croup." 

"Is there any hope for him?" 

"None in the wide world. Oh, what is to be- 
come of us!" 

By and by a nurse brought in our Penelope to 
say good night and offer the customary prayer at 
the mother's knee. In the midst of "Now I lay 
me down to sleep," she gave a slight cough! My 
wife fell back like one stricken with death. But the 
next moment she was up and brirnming with the 
activities which terror inspires. 

She commanded that the child's crib be removed 
from the nursery to our bedroom; and she went 
along to see the order executed. She took me with 
her, of course. We got matters arranged with 
speed. A cot-bed was put up in my wife's dressing- 
room for the nurse. But now Mrs. McWilliams 
said we were too far away from the other baby, and 
what if he were to have the symptoms in the night 
and she blanched again, poor thing. 

We then restored the crib and the nurse to the 
nursery and put up a bed for ourselves in a room 
adjoining. 

Presently, however, Mrs. McWilliams said sup- 
pose the baby should catch it from Penelope? This 
thought struck a new panic to her heart, and the 
tribe of us could not get the crib out of the nursery 

87 



MARK TWAIN 

fcgain fast enough to satisfy my wife, though she 
assisted in her own person and well-nigh pulled the 
crib to pieces in her frantic hurry. 

We moved down-stairs; but there was no place 
there to stow the nurse, and Mrs. McWilliams said 
the nurse's experience would be an inestimable help. 
So we returned, bag and baggage, to our own bed- 
room once more, and felt a great gladness, like 
storm-buffeted birds that have found their nest 
again. 

Mrs. McWilliams sped to the nursery to see how 
things were going on there. She was back in a 
moment with a new dread. She said: 

"What can make Baby sleep so?" 

I said: 

"Why, my darling, Baby always sleeps like a 
graven image." 

"I know. I know; but there's something pecu- 
liar about his sleep now. He seems to to he 
seems to breathe so regularly. Oh, this is dread- 
ful." 

"But, my dear, he always breathes regularly." 

"Oh, I know it, but there's something frightful 
about it now. His nurse is too young and inexperi- 
enced. Maria shall stay there with her, and be on 
hand if anything happens." 

"That is a good idea, but who will help you?" 

"You can help me all I want. I wouldn't allow 
anybody to do anything but myself, anyhow, at such 
a time as this." 

I said I would feel mean to lie abed and sleep, 
and leave her to watch and toil over our little 

88 



THE MEMBRANOUS CROUP 

patient all the weary night. But she reconciled me 
to it. So old Maria departed and took up her ancient 
quarters in the nursery. 

Penelope coughed twice in her sleep. 

"Oh, why don't that doctor come! Mortimer, 
this room is too warm. This room is certainly too 
warm. Turn off the register quick!" 

I shut it off, glancing at the thermometer at the 
same time, and wondering to myself if 70 was too 
warm for a sick child. 

The coachman arrived from down- town now with 
the news that our physician was ill and confined to 
his bed. Mrs. McWilliams turned a dead eye upon 
me, and said in a dead voice : 

"There is a Providence in it. It is foreordained. 
He never was sick before. Never. We have not 
been living as we ought to live, Mortimer. Time 
and time again I have told you so. Now you see 
the result. Our child will never get well. Be thank- 
ful if you can forgive yourself; I never can forgive 
myself." 

I said, without intent to hurt, but with heedless 
choice of words, that I could not see that we had 
been living such an abandoned life. 

"Mortimer! Do you want to bring the judgment 
upon Baby, too!" 

Then she began to cry, but suddenly exclaimed: 

"The doctor must have sent medicines I" 

I said: 

"Certainly. They are here. I was only waiting 
for you to give me a chance." 

"Well do give them to me! Don't you know that 

89 



MARK TWAIN 

every moment is precious now? But what was the 
use in sending medicines, when he knows that the 
disease is incurable?" 

I said that while there was life there was hope. 

"Hope! Mortimer, you know no more what you 
are talking about than the child unborn. If you 
would As I live, the directions say give one tea- 
spoonful once an hour ! Once an hour ! as if we had 
a whole year before us to save the child in ! Morti- 
mer, please hurry. Give the poor perishing thing a 
tablespoonful, and try to be quick!" 

"Why, my dear, a tablespoonful might " 

"Don't drive me frantic! . . . There, there, there, 
my precious, my own; it's nasty bitter stuff, but it's 
good for Nelly good for mother's precious darling; 
and it will make her well. There, there, there, put 
the little head on mamma's breast and go to sleep, 
and pretty soon oh, I knowshe can't live till morning ! 
Mortimer, a tablespoonful every half -hour will Oh, 
the child needs belladonna, too ; I know she does and 
aconite. Get them, Mortimer. Now do let me have 
my way. You know nothing about these things." 

We now went to bed, placing the crib close to my 
wife's pillow. All this turmoil had worn upon me, 
and within two minutes I was something more than 
half asleep. Mrs. McWilliams roused me: 

"Darling, is that register turned on?" 

"No." 

"I thought as much. Please turn it on at once. 
This room is cold." 

I turned it on, and presently fell asleep again. I 
was aroused once more: 

90 



THE MEMBRANOUS CROUP 

"Dearie, would you mind moving the crib to your 
side of the bed? It is nearer the register." 

I moved it, but had a collision with the rug and 
woke up the child. I dozed off once more, while 
my wife quieted the sufferer. But in a little while 
these words came murmuring remotely through the 
fog of my drowsiness : 

"Mortimer, if we only had some goose grease 
will you ring?" 

I climbed dreamily out, and stepped on a cat, 
which responded with a protest and would have got 
a convincing kick for it if a chair had not got it 
instead. 

"Now, Mortimer, why do you want to turn up 
the gas and wake up the child again?" 

"Because I want to see how much I am hurt, 
Caroline." 

"Well, look at the chair, too I have no doubt 
it is ruined. Poor cat, suppose you had " 

"Now I am not going to suppose anything about 
the cat. It never would have occurred if Maria 
had been allowed to remain here and attend to these 
duties, which are in her line and are not in mine." 

"Now, Mortimer, I should think you would be 
ashamed to make a remark like that. It is a pity if 
you cannot do the few little things I ask of you at 
such an awful time as this when our child " 

"There, there, I will do anything you want. But 
I can't raise anybody with this bell. They're all 
gone to bed. Where is the goose grease?" 

"On the mantelpiece in the nursery. If you'll 
step there and speak to Maria " 



MARK TWAIN 

I fetched the goose grease and went to sleep again. 
Once more I was called : 

"Mortimer, I so hate to disturb you, but the room 
is still too cold for me to try to apply this stuff. 
Would you mind lighting the fire? It is all ready 
to touch a match to." 

I dragged myself out and lit the fire, and then sat 
down disconsolate. 

"Mortimer, don't sit there and catch your death 
of cold. Come to bed." 

As I was stepping in she said : 

"But wait a moment. Please give the child some 
more of the medicine." 

Which I did. It was a medicine which made a 
child more or less lively; so my wife made use of 
its waking interval to strip it and grease it all over 
with the goose oil. I was soon asleep once more, 
but once more I had to get up. 

"Mortimer, I feel a draft. I feel it distinctly. 
There is nothing so bad for this disease as a draft. 
Please move the crib in front of the fire." 

I did it; and collided with the rug again, which I 
threw in the fire. Mrs. McWilliams sprang out of 
bed and rescued it and we had some words. I had 
another trifling interval of sleep, and then got up, 
by request, and constructed a flax-seed poultice. 
This was placed upon the child's breast and left 
there to do its healing work. 

A wood-fire is not a permanent thing. I got up 
every twenty minutes and renewed ours, and this 
gave Mrs. McWilliams the opportunity to shorten 
the times of giving the medicines by ten minutes, 

92 



THE MEMBRANOUS CROUP 

which was a great satisfaction to her. Now and 
then, between times, I reorganized the flax-seed 
poultices, and applied sinapisms and other sorts of 
blisters where unoccupied places could be found 
upon the child. Well, toward morning the wood 
gave out and my wife wanted me to go down cellar 
and get some more. I said: 

"My dear, it is a laborious job, and the child 
must be nearly warm enough, with her extra cloth- 
ing. Now mightn't we put on another layer of 
poultices and " 

I did not finish, because I was interrupted. I 
lugged wood up from below for some little time, 
and then turned in and fell to snoring as only a man 
can whose strength is all gone and whose soul is 
worn out. Just at broad daylight I felt a grip on 
my shoulder that brought me to my senses sud- 
denly. My wife was glaring down upon me and 
gasping. As soon as she could command her tongue 
she said: 

"It is all over! All over! The child's perspir- 
ing! What shall we do?" 

"Mercy, how you terrify me! 7 don't know 
what we ought to do. Maybe if we scraped her 
and put her in the draft again " 

"Oh, idiot! There is not a moment to lose! 
Go for the doctor. Go yourself. Tell him he must 
come, dead or alive." 

I dragged that poor sick man from his bed and 
brought him. He looked at the child and said she 
was not dying. This was joy unspeakable to me, 
but it made my wife as mad as if he had offered her 

93 



MARK TWAIN 

a personal affront. Then he said the child's cough 
was only caused by some trifling irritation or other 
in the throat. At this I thought my wife had a 
mind to show him the door. Now the doctor said 
he would make the child cough harder and dislodge 
the trouble. So he gave her something that sent 
her into a spasm of coughing, and presently up 
came a little wood splinter or so. 

"This child has no membranous croup," said 
he. "She has been chewing a bit of pine shingle 
or something of the kind, and got some little slivers 
in her throat. They won't do her any hurt." 

"No," said I, "I can well believe that. Indeed, 
the turpentine that is in them is very good for cer- 
tain sorts of diseases that are peculiar to children. 
My wife will tell you so." 

But she did not. She turned away in disdain and 
left the room; and since that time there is one epi- 
sode in our life which we never refer to. Hence 
the tide of our days flows by in deep and untroubled 
serenity. 

[Very few married men have such an experience as Mc- 
Williams's, and so the author of this book thought that maybe 
the novelty of it would give it a passing interest to the reader.] 



MY FIRST LITERARY VENTURE 

I WAS a very smart child at the age of thirteen 
an unusually smart child, I thought at the time. 
It was then that I did my first newspaper scribbling, 
and most unexpectedly to me it stirred up a fine 
sensation in the community. It did, indeed, and 
I was very proud of it, too. I was a printer's 
"devil," and a progressive and aspiring one. My 
uncle had me on his paper (the Weekly Hannibal 
Journal, two dollars a year in advance five hun- 
dred subscribers, and they paid in cordwood, cab- 
bages, and unmarketable turnips), and on a lucky 
summer's day he left town to be gone a week, and 
asked me if I thought I could edit one issue of the 
paper judiciously. Ah ! didn't I want to try ! Hig- 
gins was the editor on the rival paper. He had 
lately been jilted, and one night a friend found an 
open note on the poor fellow's bed, in which he 
stated that he could not longer endure life and had 
drowned himself in Bear Creek. The friend ran 
down there and discovered Higgins wading back to 
shore. He had concluded he wouldn't. The village 
was full of it for several days, but Higgins did not 
suspect it. I thought this was a fine opportunity. 
I wrote an elaborately wretched account of the whole 
matter, and then illustrated it with villainous cuts 

95 



MARK TWAIN 

engraved on the bottoms of wooden type with a 
jackknife one of them a picture of Higgins wading 
out into the creek in his shirt, with a lantern, sound- 
ing the depth of the water with a walking-stick. I 
thought it was desperately funny, and was densely 
unconscious that there was any moral obliquity 
about such a publication. Being satisfied with this 
effort I looked around for other worlds to conquer, 
and it struck me that it would make good, interesting 
matter to charge the editor of a neighboring country 
paper with a piece of gratuitous rascality and "see 
him squirm." 

I did it, putting the article into the form of a 
parody on the "Burial of Sir John Moore" and a 
pretty crude parody it was, too. 

Then I lampooned two prominent citizens out- 
rageously not because they had done anything to 
deserve, but merely because I thought it was my 
duty to make the paper lively. 

Next I gently touched up the newest stranger 
the lion of the day, the gorgeous journeyman tailor 
from Quincy. He was a simpering coxcomb of the 
first water, and the "loudest" dressed man in the 
state. He was an inveterate woman-killer. Every 
week he wrote lushy "poetry" for the Journal, 
about his newest conquest. His rhymes for my 

week were headed, "To MARY IN H L," meaning 

to Mary in Hannibal, of course. But while set- 
ting up the piece I was suddenly riven from head to 
heel by what I regarded as a perfect thunderbolt of 
humor, and I compressed it into a snappy footnote 
at the bottom thus: "We will let this thing pass, 

96 



MY FIRST LITERARY VENTURE 

just this once; but we wish Mr. J. Gordon Runnels 
to understand distinctly that we have a character to 
sustain, and from this time forth when he wants to 
commune with his friends in h 1, he must select 
some other medium than the columns of this journal !" 

The paper came out, and I never knew any little 
thing attract so much attention as those playful 
trifles of mine. 

For once the Hannibal Journal was in demand 
a novelty it had not experienced before. The whole 
town was stirred. Higgins dropped in with a double- 
barreled shotgun early in the forenoon. When he 
found that it was an infant (as he called me) that 
had done him the damage, he simply pulled my ears 
and went away; but he threw up his situation that 
night and left town for good. The tailor came with 
his goose and a pair of shears; but he despised me, 
too, and departed for the South that night. The 
two lampooned citizens came with threats of libel, 
and went away incensed at my insignificance. The 
country editor pranced in with a war-whoop next 
day, suffering for blood to drink; but he ended by 
forgiving me cordially and inviting me down to the 
drug store to wash away all animosity in a friendly 
bumper of " Fahnestock's Vermifuge." It was his 
little joke. My uncle was very angry when he got 
back unreasonably so, I thought, considering what 
an impetus I had given the paper, and considering 
also that gratitude for his preservation ought to have 
been uppermost in his mind, inasmuch as by his 
delay he had so wonderfully escaped dissection, 
tomahawking, libel, and getting his head shot off. 

97 



MARK TWAIN 

But he softened when he looked at the accounts and 
saw that I had actually booked the unparalleled 
number of thirty-three new subscribers, and had the 
vegetables to show for it, cordwood, cabbage, beans, 
and unsalable turnips enough to run the family for 
two years! 



HOW THE AUTHOR WAS SOLD 
IN NEWARK 1 

IT is seldom pleasant to tell on oneself, but some- 
times it is a sort of relief to a man to make a 
confession. I wish to unburden my mind now, and 
yet I almost believe that I am moved to do it 
more because I long to bring censure upon another 
man than because I desire to pour balm upon my 
wounded heart. (I don't know what balm is, but I 
believe it is the correct expression to use in this 
connection never having seen any balm.) You 
may remember that I lectured in Newark lately for 

the young gentlemen of the Society? I did 

at any rate. During the afternoon of that day I 
was talking with one of the young gentlemen just 
referred to, and he said he had an uncle who, from 
some cause or other, seemed to have grown perma- 
nently bereft of all emotion. And with tears in his 
eyes, this young man said, "Oh, if I could only see 
him laugh once more! Oh, if I could only see him 
weep!" I was touched. I could never withstand 
distress. 

I said: "Bring him to my lecture. I'll start him 
for you." 

"Oh, if you could but do it! If you could but 

1 Written about 1869. 
99 



MARK TWAIN 

do it, all our family would bless you for evermore 
for he is so very dear to us. Oh, my benefactor, 
can you make him laugh? can you bring soothing 
tears to those parched orbs?" 

I was profoundly moved. I said: "My son, 
bring the old party round. I have got some jokes 
in that lecture that will make him laugh if there is 
any laugh in him; and if they miss fire, I have got 
some others that will make him cry or kill him, one 
or the other." Then the young man blessed me, 
and wept on my neck, and went after his uncle. 
He placed him in full view, in the second row of 
benches, that night, and I began on him. I tried 
him with mild jokes, then with severe ones; I dosed 
him with bad jokes and riddled him with good ones; 
I fired old stale jokes into him, and peppered him 
fore and aft with red-hot new ones ; I warmed up to 
my work, and assaulted him on the right and left, in 
front and behind ; I fumed and sweated and charged 
and ranted till I was hoarse and sick and frantic and 
furious; but I never moved him once I never 
started a smile or a tear! Never a ghost of a smile, 
and never a suspicion of moisture ! I was astounded. 
I closed the lecture at last with one despairing shriek 
with one wild burst of humor, and hurled a joke 
of supernatural atrocity full at him! 

Then I sat down bewildered and exhausted. 

The president of the society came up and bathed 
my head with cold water, and said: "What made 
you carry on so toward the last?" 

I said: "I was trying to make that confounded 
old fool laugh, in the second row." 

100 



SOLD IN NEWARK 

And he said: "Well, you were wasting your 
time, because he is deaf and dumb, and as blind as 
a badger!" 

Now, was that any way for that old man's nephew 
to impose on a stranger and orphan like me? I ask 
you as a man and brother, if that was any way foi 
him to do? 



THE OFFICE BORE 1 

HE arrives just as regularly as the clock strikes 
nine in the morning. And so he even beats 
the editor sometimes, and the porter must leave his 
work and climb two or three pairs of stairs to unlock 
the "Sanctum" door and let him in. He lights 
one of the office pipes not reflecting, perhaps, 
that the editor may be one of those "stuck-up" 
people who would as soon have a stranger defile his 
tooth-brush as his pipe-stem. Then he begins to 
loll for a person who can consent to loaf his use- 
less life away in ignominious indolence has not the 
energy to sit up straight. He stretches full length 
on the sofa awhile; then draws up to half length; 
then gets into a chair, hangs his head back and his 
arms abroad, and stretches his legs till the rims of 
his boot-heels rest upon the floor; by and by sits 
up and leans forward, with one leg or both over the 
arm of the chair. But it is still observable that with 
all his changes of position, he never assumes the 
upright or a fraudful affectation of dignity. From 
time to time he yawns, and stretches, and scratches 
himself with a tranquil, mangy enjoyment, and now 
and then he grunts a kind of stuffy, overfed grunt, 
which is full of animal contentment. At rare and 

1 Written about 1869. 
102 



THE OFFICE BORE 

long intervals, however, he sighs a sigh that is the 
eloquent expression of a secret confession, to wit: 
"I am useless and a nuisance, a cumberer of the 
earth." The bore and his comrades for there 
are usually from two to four on hand, day and 
night mix into the conversation when men come 
in to see the editors for a moment on business; 
they hold noisy talks among themselves about poli- 
tics in particular, and all other subjects in general 
even warming up, after a fashion, sometimes, and 
seeming to take almost a real interest in what they 
are discussing. They ruthlessly call an editor from 
his work with such a remark as: "Did you see this, 
Smith, in the Gazette?" and proceed to read the 
paragraph while the sufferer reins in his impatient 
pen and listens; they often loll and sprawl round 
the office hour after hour, swapping anecdotes and 
relating personal experiences to each other hair- 
breadth escapes, social encounters with distinguished 
men, election reminiscences, sketches of odd char- 
acters, etc. And through all those hours they never 
seem to comprehend that they are robbing the 
editors of their time, and the public of journalistic 
excellence in next day's paper. At other times 
they drowse, or dreamily pore over exchanges, or 
droop limp and pensive over the chair-arms for an 
hour. Even this solemn silence is small respite to 
the editor, for the next uncomfortable thing to having 
people look over his shoulders, perhaps, is to have 
them sit by in silence and listen to the scratching of 
his pen. If a body desires to talk private business 
with one of the editors, he must call him outside, 

103 



MARK TWAIN 

for no hint milder than blasting-powder or nitro- 
glycerin would be likely to move the bores out of 
listening-distance. To have to sit and endure the 
presence of a bore day after day ; to feel your cheerful 
spirits begin to sink as his footstep sounds on the 
stair, and utterly vanish away as his tiresome form 
enters the door; to suffer through his anecdotes and 
die slowly to his reminiscences; to feel always the 
fetters of his clogging presence ; to long hopelessly for 
one single day's privacy; to note with a shudder, by 
and by, that to contemplate his funeral in fancy has 
ceased to soothe, to imagine him undergoing in strict 
and fearful detail the tortures of the ancient Inquisi- 
tion has lost its power to satisfy the heart, and that 
even to wish him millions and millions and millions 
of miles in Tophet is able to bring only a fitful gleam 
of joy; to have to endure all this, day after day, and 
week after week, and month after month, is an 
affliction that transcends any other that men suffer. 
Physical pain is pastime to it, and hanging a pleasure 
excursion. 



JOHNNY GREER 

" HP HE church was densely crowded that lovely 
1 summer Sabbath," said the Sunday-school 
superintendent, "and all, as their eyes rested upon 
the small coffin, seemed impressed by the poor black 
boy's fate. Above the stillness the pastor's voice 
rose, and chained the interest of every ear as he told, 
with many an envied compliment, how that the 
brave, noble, daring little Johnny Greer, when he 
saw the drowned body sweeping down toward the 
deep part of the river whence the agonized parents 
never could have recovered it in this world, gallantly 
sprang into the stream, and, at the risk of his life, 
towed the corpse to shore, and held it fast till help 
came and secured it. Johnny Greer was sitting just in 
front of me. A ragged street-boy, with eager eye, turned 
upon him instantly, and said in a hoarse whisper : 

'"No; but did you, though?' 

"'Yes.' 

"'Towed the carkiss ashore and saved it yo'self?' 

"'Yes.' 

' ' ' Cracky ! What did they give you ?' 

"'Nothing.' 

"'W-h-a-t [with intense disgust]! D'you know 
what I'd 'a' done? I'd 'a' anchored him out in the 
stream, and said, Five dollars, gents, or you carn't have 
yo' nigger.' " 

105 



THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF 
THE GREAT BEEF CONTRACT 1 

IN as few words as possible I wish to lay before 
the nation whats hare, howsoever small, I have 
had in this matter this matter which has so ex- 
ercised the public mind, engendered so much ill- 
feeling, and so filled the newspapers of both con- 
tinents with distorted statements and extravagant 
comments. 

The origin of this distressful thing was this and 
I assert here that every fact in the following resume 
can be amply proved by the official records of the 
General Government: 

John Wilson Mackenzie, of Rotterdam, Chemung 
County, New Jersey, deceased, contracted with the 
General Government, on or about the loth day of 
October, 1861, to furnish to General Sherman the 
sum total of thirty barrels of beef. 

Very well. 

He started after Sherman with the beef, but when 
he got to Washington Sherman had gone to Manas- 
sas; so he took the beef and followed him there, 
but arrived too late; he followed him to Nashville, 
and from Nashville to Chattanooga, and from Chat- 
tanooga to Atlanta but he never could overtake 

1 Written about 1867. 
106 



THE GREAT BEEF CONTRACT 

him. At Atlanta he took a fresh start and followed 
him clear through his march to the sea. He arrived 
too late again by a few days; but hearing that Sher- 
man was going out in the Quaker City excursion to 
the Holy Land, he took shipping for Beirut, calcu- 
lating to head off the other vessel. When he arrived 
in Jerusalem with his beef, he learned that Sherman 
had not sailed in the Quaker City, but had gone 
to the Plains to fight the Indians. He returned to 
America and started for the Rocky Mountains. 
After sixty-eight days of arduous travel on the 
Plains, and when he had got within four miles of 
Sherman's headquarters, he was tomahawked and 
scalped, and the Indians got the beef. They got all 
of it but one barrel. Sherman's army captured that, 
and so, even in death, the bold navigator partly 
fulfilled his contract. In his will, which he had kept 
like a journal, he bequeathed the contract to his son 
Bartholomew W. Bartholomew W. made out the 
following bill, and then died: 

THE UNITED STATES 

In account with JOHN WILSON MACKENZIE, of New- 
Jersey, deceased, Dr. 

To thirty barrels of beef for General Sherman, at $100, $3,000 
To traveling expenses and transportation .... 14,000 

Total, $17,000 

Rec'd Pay't. 

He died then; but he left the contract to Wm. J. 
Martin, who tried to collect it, but died before he 
got through. He left it to Barker J. Allen, and he 
tried to collect it also. He did not survive. Barker 

107 



MARK TWAIN 

J. Allen left it to Anson G. Rogers, who attempted 
to collect it, and got along as far as the Ninth 
Auditor's Office, when Death, the great Leveler, 
came all unsummoned, and foreclosed on him also. 
He left the bill to a relative of his in Connecticut, 
Vengeance Hopkins by name, who lasted four weeks 
and two days, and made the best time on record, 
coming within one of reaching the Twelfth Auditor. 
In his will he gave the contract bill to his uncle, by 
the name of O-be-joyful Johnson. It was too under- 
mining for Joyful. His last words were: "Weep 
not for me I am willing to go." And so he was, 
poor soul. Seven people inherited the contract 
after that; but they all died. So it came into my 
hands at last. It fell to me through a relative by 
the name of Hubbard Bethlehem Hubbard, of 
Indiana. He had had a grudge against me for a 
long time; but in his last moments he sent for me, 
and forgave me everything, and, weeping, gave me 
the beef contract. 

This ends the history of it up to the time that I 
succeeded to the property. I will now endeavor to 
set myself straight before the nation in everything 
that concerns my share in the matter. I took this 
beef contract, and the bill for mileage and trans- 
portation, to the President of the United States. 
He said, "Well, sir, what can I do for you?" 
I said, "Sire, on or about the loth day of Oc- 
tober, 1 86 1, John Wilson Mackenzie, of Rotterdam, 
Chemung County, New Jersey, deceased, contracted 
with the General Government to furnish to General 
Sherman the sum total of thirty barrels of beef " 

1 08 



THE GREAT BEEF CONTRACT 

He stopped me there, and dismissed me from his 
presence kindly, but firmly. The next day I 
called on the Secretary of State. 

He said, "Well, sir?" 

I said, "Your Royal Highness: on or about the 
loth day of October, 1861, John Wilson Mackenzie, 
of Rotterdam, Chemung County, New Jersey, de- 
ceased, contracted with the General Government to 
furnish to General Sherman the sum total of thirty 
barrels of beef " 

"That will do, sir that will do; this office has 
nothing to do with contracts for beef." 

I was bowed out. I thought the matter all over, 
and finally, the following day, I visited the Secretary 
of the Navy, who said, "Speak quickly, sir; do not 
keep me waiting." 

I said, "Your Royal Highness, on or about the 
loth day of October, 1861, John Wilson Mackenzie, 
of Rotterdam, Chemung County, New Jersey, de- 
ceased, contracted with the General Government to 
General Sherman the sum total of thirty barrels of 
beef" 

Well, it was as far as I could get. He had noth- 
ing to do with beef contracts for General Sherman, 
either. I began to think it was a curious kind of a 
government. It looked somewhat as if they wanted 
to get out of paying for that beef. The following 
day I went to the Secretary of the Interior. 

I said, "Your Imperial Highness, on or about 
the loth day of October " 

"That is sufficient, sir. I have heard of you be- 
fore. Go, take your infamous beef contract out of 

109 



MARK TWAIN 

this establishment. The Interior Department has 
nothing whatever to do with subsistence for the 
army." 

I went away. But I was exasperated now. I 
said I would haunt them; I would infest every de- 
partment of this iniquitous government till that con- 
tract business was settled. I would collect that bill, 
or fall, as fell my predecessors, trying. I assailed 
the Postmaster-General ; I besieged the Agricultural 
Department ; I waylaid the Speaker of the House of 
Representatives. They had nothing to do with army 
contracts for beef. I moved upon the Commissioner 
of the Patent Office. 

I said, "Your August Excellency, on or about " 

"Perdition! have you got here with your incen- 
diary beef contract, at last ? We have nothing to do 
with beef contracts for the army, my dear sir." 

"Oh, that is all very well but somebody has 
got to pay for that beef. It has got to be paid now, 
too, or I'll confiscate this old Patent Office and 
everything in it." 

"But, my dear sir " 

"It don't make any difference, sir. The Patent 
Office is liable for that beef, I reckon ; and, liable or 
not liable, the Patent Office has got to pay for it." 

Never mind the details. It ended in a fight. The 
Patent Office won. But I found out something to 
my advantage. I was told that the Treasury Depart- 
ment was the proper place for me to go to. I went 
there. I waited two hours and a half, and then I 
was admitted to the First Lord of the Treasury. 

I said, "Most noble, grave, and reverend Signor, 

no 



THE GREAT BEEF CONTRACT 

on or about the loth day of October, 1861, John 
Wilson Macken " 

"That is sufficient, sir. I have heard of you. 
Go to the First Auditor of the Treasury." 

I did so. He sent me to the Second Auditor. 
The Second Auditor sent me to the Third, and the 
Third sent me to the First Comptroller of the Corn- 
Beef Division. This began to look like business. 
He examined his books and all his loose papers, but 
found no minute of the beef contract. I went to 
the Second Comptroller of the Corn-Beef Division. 
He examined his books and his loose papers, but 
with no success. I was encouraged. During that 
week I got as far as the Sixth Comptroller in that 
division; the next week I got through the Claims 
Department ; the third week I began and completed 
the Mislaid Contracts Department, and got a foot- 
hold in the Dead Reckoning Department. I finished 
that in three days. There was only one place left 
for it now. I laid siege to the Commissioner of 
Odds and Ends. To his clerk, rather he was not 
there himself. There were sixteen beautiful young 
ladies in the room, writing in books, and there were 
seven well-favored young clerks showing them how. 
The young women smiled up over their shoulders, 
and the clerks smiled back at them, and all went 
merry as a marriage bell. Two or three clerks that 
were reading the newspapers looked at me rather 
hard, but went on reading, and nobody said anything. 
However, I had been used to this kind of alacrity 
from Fourth Assistant Junior Clerks all through my 
eventful career, from the very day I entered the first 

in 



MARK TWAIN 

office of the Corn-Beef Bureau clear till I passed out 
of the last one in the Dead Reckoning Division. I 
had got so accomplished by this time that I could 
stand on one foot from the moment I entered an 
office till a clerk spoke to me, without changing more 
than two, or maybe three, times. 

So I stood there till I had changed four different 
times. Then I said to one of the clerks who was 
reading: 

"Illustrious Vagrant, where is the Grand Turk?" 

"What do you mean, sir? whom do you mean? 
If you mean the Chief of the Bureau, he is out." 

"Will he visit the harem to-day?" 

The young man glared upon me awhile, and then 
went on reading his paper. But I knew the ways of 
those clerks. I knew I was safe if he got through 
before another New York mail arrived. He only 
had two more papers left. After a while he finished 
them, and then he yawned and asked me what I wanted . 

"Renowned and honored Imbecile: on or about " 

"You are the beef-contract man. Give me your 
papers." 

He took them, and for a long time he ransacked 
his odds and ends. Finally he found the North- 
west Passage, as I regarded it he found the long- 
lost record of that beef contract he found the rock 
upon which so many of my ancestors had split before 
they ever got to it. I was deeply moved. And yet 
I rejoiced for I had survived. I said with emotion, 
"Give it me. The government will settle now." 
He waved me back, and said there was something 
yet to be done first. 

112 



THE GREAT BEEF CONTRACT 

"Where is this John Wilson Mackenzie?" said he. 

"Dead." 

"When did he die?" 

"He didn't die at all he was killed." 

"How?" 

"Tomahawked." 

"Who tomahawked him?" 

"Why, an Indian, of course. You didn't sup- 
pose it was the superintendent of a Sunday-school, 
did you?" 

"No. An Indian, was it?" 

"The same." 

"Name of the Indian?" 

"His name? / don't know his name." 

11 Must have his name. Who saw the tomahawk- 
ing done?" 

"I don't know." 

"You were not present yourself, then?" 

"Which you can see by my hair. I was absent." 

"Then how do you know that Mackenzie is dead?" 

"Because he certainly died at that time, and I 
have every reason to believe that he has been dead 
ever since. I know he has, in fact." 

"We must have proofs. Have you got the 
Indian?" 

"Of course not." 

"Well, you must get him. Have you got the 
tomahawk?" 

"I never thought of such a thing." 

"You must get the tomahawk. You must pro- 
duce the Indian and the tomahawk. If Mackenzie's 
death can be proven by these, you can then go before 

"3 



MARK TWAIN 

the commission appointed to audit claims with some 
show of getting your bill under such headway that 
your children may possibly live to receive the money 
and enjoy it. But that man's death must be proven. 
However, I may as well tell you that the govern- 
ment will never pay that transportation and those 
traveling expenses of the lamented Mackenzie. It 
may possibly pay for the barrel of beef that Sherman's 
soldiers captured, if you can get a relief bill through 
Congress making an appropriation for that purpose; 
but it will not pay for the twenty-nine barrels the 
Indians ate." 

"Then there is only a hundred dollars due me, 
and that isn't certain ! After all Mackenzie's travels 
in Europe, Asia, and America with that beef; after 
all his trials and tribulations and transportation; 
after the slaughter of all those innocents that tried 
to collect that bill! Young man, why didn't the 
First Comptroller of the Corn-Beef Division tell me 
this?" 

"He didn't know anything about the genuineness 
of your claim." 

"Why didn't the Second tell me? why didn't the 
Third? why didn't all those divisions and depart- 
ments tell me?" 

"None of them knew. We do things by routine 
here. You have followed the routine and found out 
what you wanted to know. It is the best way. It 
is the only way. It is very regular, and very slow, 
but it is very certain." 

"Yes, certain death. It has been, to the most of 
our tribe. I begin to feel that I, too, am called. 

114 



THE GREAT BEEF CONTRACT 

Young man, you love the bright creature yonder with 
the gentle blue eyes and the steel pens behind her 
ears I see it in your soft glances ; you wish to marry 
her but you are poor. Here, hold out your hand 
here is the beef contract ; go, take her and be happy ! 
Heaven bless you, my children!" 

This is all I know about the great beef contract 
that has created so much talk in the community. 
The clerk to whom I bequeathed it died. I know 
nothing further about the contract, or any one con- 
nected with it. I only know that if a man lives long 
enough he can trace a thing through the Circumlo- 
cution Office of Washington and find out, after 
much labor and trouble and delay, that which he 
could have found out on the first day if the business 
of the Circumlocution Office were as ingeniously 
systematized as it would be if it were a great private 
mercantile institution. 



THE CASE OF GEORGE FISHER 1 

THIS is history. It is not a wild extravaganza, 
like "John Wilson Mackenzie's Great Beef 
Contract," but is a plain statement of facts and cir- 
cumstances with which the Congress of the United 
States has interested itself from time to time during 
the long period of half a century. 

I will not call this matter of George Fisher's a 
great deathless and unrelenting swindle upon the 
government and people of the United States for 
it has never been so decided, and I hold that it is a 
grave and solemn wrong for a writer to cast slurs or 
call names when such is the case but will simply 
present the evidence and let the reader deduce his 
own verdict. Then we shall do nobody injustice, 
and our consciences shall be clear. 

On or about the ist day of September, 1813, the 
Creek war being then in progress in Florida, the 
crops, herds, and houses of Mr. George Fisher, a 

1 Some years ago, about 1867, when this was first published, 
few people believed it, but considered it a mere extravaganza. In 
these latter days it seems hard to realize that there was ever a time 
when the robbing of our government was a novelty. The very man 
who showed me where to find the documents for this case was at 
that very time spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in Wash- 
ington for a mail steamship concern, in the effort to procure a 
subsidy for the company a fact which was a long time in coming 
to the surface, but leaked out at last and underwent Congressional 
investigation. 

116 



THE CASE OF GEORGE FISHER 

citizen, were destroyed, either by the Indians or by 
the United States troops in pursuit of them. By 
the terms of the law, if the Indians destroyed the 
property, there was no relief for Fisher; but if the 
troops destroyed it, the Government of the United 
States was debtor to Fisher for the amount in- 
volved. 

George Fisher must have considered that the In- 
dians destroyed the property, because, although he 
lived several years afterward, he does not appear to 
have ever made any claim upon the government. 

In the course of time Fisher died, and his widow 
married again. And by and by, nearly twenty years 
after that dimly remembered raid upon Fisher's 
corn-fields, the widow Fisher's new husband peti- 
tioned Congress for pay for the property, and backed 
up the petition with many depositions and affida-v its 
which purported to prove that the troops, and not 
the Indians, destroyed the property; that the troops, 
for some inscrutable reason, deliberately burned 
down "houses" (or cabins) valued at $600, the 
same belonging to a peaceable private citizen, and 
also destroyed various other property belonging to 
the same citizen. But Congress declined to believe 
that the troops were such idiots (after overtaking 
and scattering a band of Indians proved to have 
been found destroying Fisher's property) as to 
calmly continue the work of destruction themselves, 
and make a complete job of what the Indians had 
only commenced. So Congress denied the petition 
of the heirs of George Fisher in 1832, and did not 
pay them a cent. 

117 



MARK TWAIN 

We hear no more from them officially until 1848, 
sixteen years after their first attempt on the Treas- 
ury, and a full generation after the death of the man 
whose fields were destroyed. The new generation 
of Fisher heirs then came forward and put in a bill 
for damages. The Second Auditor awarded them 
$8,873, being half the damage sustained by Fisher. 
The Auditor said the testimony showed that at least 
half the destruction was done by the Indians "before 
the troops started in pursuit," and of course the gov- 
ernment was not responsible for that half. 

2. That was in April, 1848. In December, 1848, 
the heirs of George Fisher, deceased, came forward 
and pleaded for a "revision" of their bill of dam- 
ages. The revision was made, but nothing new 
could be found in their favor except an error of 
$100 in the former calculation. However, in order 
to keep up the spirits of the Fisher family, the 
Auditor concluded to go back and allow interest 
from the date of the first petition (1832) to the date 
when the bill of damages was awarded. This sent 
the Fishers home happy with sixteen years' interest 
on $8,873 the same amounting to $8,997.94. 
Total, $17,870.94. 

3 . For an entire year the suffering Fisher family re- 
mained quiet even satisfied, after a fashion. Then 
they swooped down upon the government with their 
wrongs once more. That old patriot, Attorney- 
General Toucey, burrowed through the musty papers 
of the Fishers and discovered one more chance for 
the desolate orphans interest on that original award 
of $8,873 from date of destruction of the property 

118 



THE CASE OF GEORGE FISHER 

(1813) up to 1832! Result, $10,004.89 for the 
indigent Fishers. So now we have: First, $8,873 
damages; second, interest on it from 1832 to 1848, 
$8,997.94: third, interest on it dated back to 1813, 
$10,004.89. Total, $27,875.83! What better in- 
vestment for a great-grandchild than to get the 
Indians to burn a corn-field for him sixty or seventy 
years before his birth, and plausibly lay it on lunatic 
United States troops? 

4. Strange as it may seem, the Fishers let Con- 
gress alone for five years or, what is perhaps more 
likely, failed to make themselves heard by Congress 
for that length of time. But at last, in 1854, they 
got a hearing. They persuaded Congress to pass an 
act requiring the Auditor to re-examine their case. 
But this time they stumbled upon the misfortune of 
an honest Secretary of the Treasury (Mr. James 
Guthrie) , and he spoiled everything. He said in very 
plain language that the Fishers were not only not 
entitled to another cent, but that those children of 
many sorrows and acquainted with grief had been 
paid too much already. 

5. Therefore another interval of rest and silence 
ensued an interval which lasted four years viz., 
till 1858. The "right man in the right place" was 
then Secretary of War John B. Floyd, of peculiar 
renown! Here was a master intellect; here was the 
very man to succor the suffering heirs of dead and 
forgotten Fisher. They came up from Florida with 
a rush a great tidal wave of Fishers freighted with 
the same old musty documents about the same im- 
mortal corn-fields of their ancestor. They straight- 

119 



MARK TWAIN 

way got an act passed transferring the Fisher matter 
from the dull Auditor to the ingenious Floyd. 
What did Floyd do? He said, "IT WAS PROVED 
that the Indians destroyed everything they could before 
the troops entered in pursuit" He considered, there- 
fore, that what they destroyed must have consisted 
of "the houses with all their contents, and the liquor" 
(the most trifling part of the destruction, and set 
down at only $3,200 all told), and that the govern- 
ment troops then drove them off and calmly pro- 
ceeded to destroy 

Two hundred and twenty acres of corn in the field, 
thirty-five acres of wheat, and nine hundred and eighty- 
six head of live stock! [What a singularly intelligent 
army we had in those days, according to Mr. Floyd 
though not according to the Congress of 1832.] 

So Mr. Floyd decided that the Government was 
not responsible for that $3,200 worth of rubbish 
which the Indians destroyed, but was responsible 
for the property destroyed by the troops which 
property consisted of (I quote from the printed 

United States Senate document) : 

DOLLARS 

Corn at Bassett's Creek, 3,000 

Cattle, 5,000 

Stock hogs, 1,050 

Drove hogs, 1,204 

Wheat, 350 

Hides, 4,000 

Corn on the Alabama River, 3, 500 

Total, 18,104 

That sum, in his report, Mr. Floyd calls the 
"full value of the property destroyed by the troops.' 

1 20 



THE CASE OF GEORGE FISHER 

He allows that sum to the starving Fishers, TOGETHER 

WITH INTEREST FROM 1813. From this H6W Slim total 

the amounts already paid to the Fishers were de- 
ducted, and then the cheerful remainder (a fraction 
under forty thousand dollars} was handed to them, 
and again they retired to Florida in a condition of 
temporary tranquillity. Their ancestor's farm had 
now yielded them altogether nearly sixty-seven thou- 
sand dollars in cash. 

6. Does the reader suppose that that was the end 
of it ? Does he suppose those diffident Fishers were 
satisfied? Let the evidence show. The Fishers 
were quiet just two years. Then they came swarm- 
ing up out of the fertile swamps of Florida with 
their same old documents, and besieged Congress 
once more. Congress capitulated on the ist of 
June, 1860, and instructed Mr. Floyd to overhaul 
those papers again and pay that bill. A Treasury 
clerk was ordered to go through those papers and 
report to Mr. Floyd what amount was still due the 
emaciated Fishers. This clerk (I can produce him 
whenever he is wanted) discovered what was ap- 
parently a glaring and recent forgery in the papers, 
whereby a witness's testimony as to the price of 
corn in Florida in 1813 was made to name double 
the amount which that witness had originally speci- 
fied as the price! The clerk not only called his 
superior's attention to this thing, but in making up 
his brief of the case called particular attention to it 
in writing. That part of the brief never got before 
Congress, nor has Congress ever yet had a hint of a 
forgery existing among the Fisher papers. Never- 

121 



MARK TWAIN 

theless, on the basis of the double prices (and totally 
ignoring the clerk's assertion that the figures were 
manifestly and unquestionably a recent forgery), 
Mr. Floyd remarks in his new report that "the 
testimony, particularly in regard to the corn crops, 

DEMANDS A MUCH HIGHER ALLOWANCE than any 

heretofore made by the Auditor or myself." So 
he estimates the crop at sixty bushels to the acre 
(double what Florida acres produce), and then vir- 
tuously allows pay for only half the crop, but allows 
two dollars and a half a bushel for that half, when 
there are rusty old books and documents in the 
Congressional library to show just what the Fisher 
testimony showed before the forgery viz., that in 
the fall of 1813 corn was only worth from $1.25 to 
$1.50 a bushel. Having accomplished this, what 
does Mr. Floyd do next? Mr. Floyd ("with an 
earnest desire to execute truly the legislative will," 
as he piously remarks) goes to work and makes out 
an entirely new bill of Fisher damages, and in this 
new bill he placidly ignores the Indians altogether 
puts no particle of the destruction of the Fisher 
property upon them, but, even repenting him of 
charging them with burning the cabins and drinking 
the whisky and breaking the crockery, lays the entire 
damage at the door of the imbecile United States 
troops down to the very last item! And not only 
that, but uses the forgery to double the loss of corn 
at "Bassett's Creek," and uses it again to abso- 
lutely treble the loss of corn on the "Alabama 
River." This new and ably conceived and executed 
bill of Mr. Floyd's figures up as follows (I copy 

122 



THE CASE OF GEORGE FISHER 

again from the printed United States Senate docu- 
ment) : 

The United States in account with the legal representatives 
of George Fisher, deceased. 

DOL. C. 

1813. To 550 head of cattle, at 10 dollars, . . . 5,500.00 

To 86 head of drove hogs, ...... 1,204.00 

To 350 head of stock hogs, ...... 1,750.00 

To 100 ACRES or CORN ON BASSETT'S CREEK, 6,000.00 

To & barrels of whisky, ........ 350.00 

To 2 barrels of brandy, ........ 280.00 

To i barrel of rum, ......... 70.00 

To dry-goods and merchandise in store, . . . 1,100.00 

To 35 acres of wheat, ........ 350.00 

To 2,000 hides, .......... 4,000.00 

To furs and hats in store, ....... 600.00 

To crockery ware in store, ....... 100.00 

To smith's and carpenter's tools, ..... 250.00 

To houses burned and destroyed, ..... 600.00 

To 4 dozen bottles of wine, ....... 48.00 

1814. To 1 20 acres of corn on Alabama River, . . 9,500.00 

To crops of peas, fodder, etc., ..... 3,250.00 

Total, ............ 34,952.00 

To interest on $22,202, from July 1813 to 

November 1860, 47 years and 4 months, 63,053.68 
To interest on $12,750, from September 
1814 to November 1860, 46 years and 2 

months, ............ 35,317-5 



Total, 



He puts everything in this time. He does not 
even allow that the Indians destroyed the crockery 
or drank the four dozen bottles of (currant) wine. 
When it came to supernatural comprehensiveness in 
"gobbling," John B. Floyd was without his equal, 
in his own or any other generation. Subtracting 
from the above total the $67,000 already paid to 

123 



MARK TWAIN 

George Fisher's implacable heirs, Mr. Floyd an- 
nounced that the government was still indebted to 
them in the sum of sixty -six thousand five hundred 
and nineteen dollars and eighty-five cents, "which," 
Mr. Floyd complacently remarks, "will be paid, 
accordingly, to the administrator of the estate of 
George Fisher, deceased, or to his attorney in fact." 

But, sadly enough for the destitute orphans, a 
new President came in just at this time, Buchanan 
and Floyd went out, and they never got their 
money. The first thing Congress did in 1861 was 
to rescind the resolution of June i, 1860, under 
which Mr. Floyd had been ciphering. Then Floyd 
(and doubtless the heirs of George Fisher likewise) 
had to give up financial business for a while, and go 
into the Confederate army and serve their country. 

Were the heirs of George Fisher killed? No. 
They are back now at this very time (July, 1870), 
beseeching Congress through that blushing and diffi- 
dent creature, Garrett Davis, to commence making 
payments again on their interminable and insatiable 
bill of damages for corn and whisky destroyed by a 
gang of irresponsible Indians, so long ago that even 
government red-tape has failed to keep consistent 
and intelligent track of it. 

Now the above are facts. They are history. Any 
one who doubts it can send to the Senate Document 
Department of the Capitol for H. R. Ex. Doc. No. 
21, 36th Congress, 26. Session, and for S. Ex. Doc. 
No. 106, 4ist Congress, 2d Session, and satisfy him- 
self. The whole case is set forth in the first volume 
of the Court of Claims Reports. 

124 



THE CASE OF GEORGE FISHER 

It is my belief that as long as the continent of 
America holds together, the heirs of George Fisher, 
deceased, will still make pilgrimages to Washington 
from the swamps of Florida, to plead for just a little 
more cash on their bill of damages (even when they 
received the last of that sixty-seven thousand dol- 
lars, they said it was only one-fourth what the govern- 
ment owed them on that fruitful corn-field), and as 
long as they choose to come they will find Garrett 
Davises to drag their vampire schemes before Con- 
gress. This is not the only hereditary fraud (if 
fraud it is which I have before repeatedly re- 
marked is not proven) that is being quietly handed 
down from generation to generation of fathers and 
sons, through the persecuted Treasury of the United 
States. 



DISGRACEFUL PERSECUTION 
OF A BOY 

IN San Francisco, the other day, "A well-dressed 
boy, on his way to Sunday-school, was arrested 
and thrown into the city prison for stoning China- 
men." 

What a commentary is this upon human justice! 
What sad prominence it gives to our human disposi- 
tion to tyrannize over the weak ! San Francisco has 
little right to take credit to herself for her treatment 
of this poor boy. What had the child's education 
been? How should he suppose it was wrong to 
stone a Chinaman? Before we side against him, 
along with outraged San Francisco, let us give him 
a chance let us hear the testimony for the defense. 

He was a "well-dressed" boy, and a Sunday- 
school scholar, and therefore the chances are that 
his parents were intelligent, well-to-do people, with 
just enough natural villainy in their composition to 
make them yearn after the daily papers, and enjoy 
them; and so this boy had opportunities to learn all 
through the week how to do right, as well as on 
Sunday. 

It was in this way that he found out that the great 
commonwealth of California imposes an unlawful 
mining-tax upon John the foreigner, and allows 

126 



PERSECUTION OF A BOY 

Patrick the foreigner to dig gold for nothing 
probably because the degraded Mongol is at no ex- 
pense for whisky, and the refined Celt cannot exist 
without it. 

It was in this way that he found out that a re- 
spectable number of the tax-gatherers it would be 
unkind to say all of them collect the tax twice, 
instead of once; and that, inasmuch as they do it 
solely to discourage Chinese immigration into the 
mines, it is a thing that is much applauded, and 
likewise regarded as being singularly facetious. 

It was in this way that he found out that when a 
white man robs a sluice-box (by the term white man 
is meant Spaniards, Mexicans, Portuguese, Irish, 
Hondurans, Peruvians, Chileans, etc., etc.), they 
make him leave the camp; and when a Chinaman 
does that thing, they hang him. 

It was in this way that he found out that in 
many districts of the vast Pacific coast, so strong is 
the wild, free love of justice in the hearts of the 
people, that whenever any secret and mysterious 
crime is committed, they say, "Let justice be done, 
though the heavens fall," and go straightway and 
swing a Chinaman. 

It was in this way that he found out that by 
studying one half of each day's "local items," it 
would appear that the police of San Francisco were 
either asleep or dead, and by studying the other half 
it would seem that the reporters were gone mad with 
admiration of the energy, the virtue, the high effect- 
iveness, and the dare-devil intrepidity of that very 
police making exultant mention of how "the 

127 



MARK TWAIN 

Argus-eyed officer So-and-so" captured a wretched 
knave of a Chinaman who was stealing chickens, and 
brought him gloriously to the city prison; and how 
"the gallant officer Such-and-such-a-one " quietly 
kept an eye on the movements of an "unsuspecting, 
almond-eyed son of Confucius" (your reporter is 
nothing if not facetious), following him around with 
that far-off look of vacancy and unconsciousness 
always so finely affected by that inscrutable being, 
the forty-dollar policeman, during a waking interval, 
and captured him at last in the very act of placing 
his hands in a suspicious manner upon a paper of 
tacks, left by the owner in an exposed situation; 
and how one officer performed this prodigious thing, 
and another officer that, and another the other and 
pretty much every one of these performances having 
for a dazzling central incident a Chinaman guilty of 
a shilling's worth of crime, an unfortunate, whose 
misdemeanor must be hurrahed into something 
enormous in order to keep the public from noticing 
how many really important rascals went uncaptured 
in the mean time, and how overrated those glorified 
policemen actually are. 

It was in this way that the boy found out that the 
legislature, being aware that the Constitution has 
made America an asylum for the poor and the op- 
pressed of all nations, and that, therefore, the poor 
and oppressed who fly to our shelter must not be 
charged a disabling admission fee, made a law that 
every Chinaman, upon landing, must be vaccinated 
upon the wharf, and pay to the state's appointed 
officer ten dollars for the service, when there are 

128 



PERSECUTION OF A BOY 

plenty of doctors in San Francisco who would be glad 
enough to do it for him for fifty cents. 

It was in this way that the boy found out that a 
Chinaman had no rights that any man was bound to 
respect; that he had no sorrows that any man was 
bound to pity; that neither his life nor his liberty 
was worth the purchase of a penny when a white 
man needed a scapegoat; that nobody loved China- 
men, nobody befriended them, nobody spared them 
suffering when it was convenient to inflict it; every- 
body, individuals, communities, the majesty of the 
state itself, joined in hating, abusing, and persecuting 
these humble strangers. 

And, therefore, what could have been more natural 
than for this sunny-hearted boy, tripping along to Sun- 
day-school, with his mind teeming with freshly learned 
incentives to high and virtuous action , to say to himself : 

"Ah, there goes a Chinaman! God will not love 
me if I do not stone him." 

And for this he was arrested and put in the city jail. 

Everything conspired to teach him that it was a 
high and holy thing to stone a Chinaman, and yet 
he no sooner attempts to do his duty than he is 
punished for it he, poor chap, who has been 
aware all his life that one of the principal recreations 
of the police, out toward the Gold Refinery, is to 
look on with tranquil enjoyment while the butchers 
of Brannan Street set their dogs on unoffending 
Chinamen, and make them flee for their lives. 1 

1 1 have many such memories in my mind, but am thinking just 
at present of one particular one, where the Brannan Street butchers 
set their dogs on a Chinaman who was quietly passing with a basket 

129 



MARK TWAIN 

Keeping in mind the tuition in the humanities 
which the entire "Pacific coast" gives its youth, 
there is a very sublimity of incongruity in the virtu- 
ous flourish with which the good city fathers of San 
Francisco proclaim (as they have lately done) that 
"The police are positively ordered to arrest all boys, 
of every description and wherever found, who en- 
gage in assaulting Chinamen." 

Still, let us be truly glad they have made the 
order, notwithstanding its inconsistency; and let us 
rest perfectly confident the police are glad, too. 
Because there is no personal peril in arresting boys, 
provided they be of the small kind, and the reporters 
will have to laud their performances just as loyally 
as ever, or go without items. 

The new form for local items in San Francisco 
will now be : " The ever- vigilant and efficient officer 
So-and-so succeeded, yesterday afternoon, in arrest- 
ing Master Tommy Jones, after a determined re- 
sistance," etc., etc., followed by the customary 
statistics and final hurrah, with its unconscious sar- 
casm: "We are happy in being able to state that this 
is the forty-seventh boy arrested by this gallant officer 
since the new ordinance went into effect . The most ex- 
traordinary activity prevails in the police department. 
Nothing like it has been seen since we can remember." 

of clothes on his head; and while the dogs mutilated his flesh, a 
butcher increased the hilarity of the occasion by knocking some of 
the Chinaman's teeth down his throat with half a brick. This inci- 
dent sticks in my memory with a more malevolent tenacity, perhaps 
on account of the fact that I was in the employ of a San Francisco 
journal at the time, and was not allowed to publish it because it 
might offend some of the peculiar element that subscribed for the 
paper. 

130 



THE JUDGE'S "SPIRITED 
WOMAN" 

I WAS sitting here," said the judge, "in this 
old pulpit, holding court, and we were trying 
a big, wicked-looking Spanish desperado for killing 
the husband of a bright, pretty Mexican woman. 
It was a lazy summer day, and an awfully long one, 
and the witnesses were tedious. None of us took 
any interest in the trial except that nervous, uneasy 
devil of a Mexican woman because you know 
how they love and how they hate, and this one had 
loved her husband with all her might, and now she 
had boiled it all down into hate, and stood here 
spitting it at that Spaniard with her eyes ; and I tell 
you she would stir me up, too, with a little of her 
summer lightning, occasionally. Well, I had my 
coat off and my heels up, lolling and sweating, and 
smoking one of those cabbage cigars the San Fran- 
cisco people used to think were good enough for us 
in those times; and the lawyers they all had their 
coats off, and were smoking and whittling, and the 
witnesses the same, and so was the prisoner. Well, 
the fact is, there warn't any interest in a murder 
trial then, because the fellow was always brought in 
'not guilty,' the jury expecting him to do as much 
for them some time; and, although the evidence 



MARK TWAIN 

was straight and square against this Spaniard, we 
knew we could not convict him without seeming to 
be rather high-handed and sort of reflecting on every 
gentleman in the community; for there warn't any 
carriages and liveries then, and so the only 'style' 
there was, was to keep your private graveyard. 
But that woman seemed to have her heart set on 
hanging that Spaniard; and you'd ought to have 
seen how she would glare on him a minute, and 
then look up at me in her pleading way, and then 
turn and for the next five minutes search the jury's 
faces, and by and by drop her face in her hands for 
just a little while as if she was most ready to give 
up; but out she'd come again directly, and be as 
live and anxious as ever. But when the jury an- 
nounced the verdict Not Guilty and I told the 
prisoner he was acquitted and free to go, that 
woman rose up till she appeared to be as tall 
and grand as a seventy -four -gun ship, and says 
she: 

"'Judge, do I understand you to say that this 
man is not guilty that murdered my husband without 
any cause before my own eyes and my little chil- 
dren's, and that all has been done to him that ever 
justice and the law can do?' 

'"The same,' says I. 

"And then what do you reckon she did? Why, 
she turned on that smirking Spanish fool like a wild- 
cat, and out with a 'navy' and shot him dead in 
open court!" 

"That was spirited, I am willing to admit." 

"Wasn't it, though?" said the judge admiringly. 
132 



THE JUDGE'S ''SPIRITED WOMAN" 

"I wouldn't have missed it for anything. I ad- 
journed court right on the spot, and we put on our 
coats and went out and took up a collection for her 
and her cubs, and sent them over the mountains to 
their friends. Ah, she was a spirited wench!" 



INFORMATION WANTED 

" WASHINGTON, December 10, 1867. 
ULD you give me any information respect - 
ing such islands, if any, as the government 
is going to purchase?" 

It is an uncle of mine that wants to know. He is 
an industrious man and well disposed, and wants to 
make a living in an honest, humble way, but more 
especially he wants to be quiet. He wishes to settle 
down, and be quiet and unostentatious. He has 
been to the new island St. Thomas, but he says he 
thinks things are unsettled there. He went there 
early with an attache of the State Department, who 
was sent down with money to pay for the island. 
My uncle had his money in the same box, and so 
when they went ashore, getting a receipt, the sailors 
broke open the box and took all the money, not 
making any distinction between government money, 
which was legitimate money to be stolen, and my 
uncle's, which was his own private property, and 
should have been respected. But he came home and 
got some more and went back. And then he took 
the fever. There are seven kinds of fever down 
there, you know; and, as his blood was out of order 
by reason of loss of sleep and general wear and tear 
of mind, he failed to cure the first fever, and then 



INFORMATION WANTED 

somehow he got the other six. He is not a kind of 
man that enjoys fevers, though he is well meaning 
and always does what he thinks is right, and so he 
was a good deal annoyed when it appeared he was 
going to die. 

But he worried through, and got well and started 
a farm. He fenced it in, and the next day that 
great storm came on and washed the most of it over 
to Gibraltar, or around there somewhere. He only 
said, in his patient way, that it was gone, and he 
wouldn't bother about trying to find out where it 
went to, though it was his opinion it went to 
Gibraltar. 

Then he invested in a mountain, and started a 
farm up there, so as to be out of the way when the 
sea came ashore again. It was a good mountain, and 
a good farm, but it wasn't any use; an earthquake 
came the next night and shook it all down. It was 
all fragments, you know, and so mixed up with 
another man's property that he could not tell which 
were his fragments without going to law; and he 
would not do that, because his main object in going 
to St. Thomas was to be quiet. All that he wanted 
was to settle down and be quiet. 

He thought it all over, and finally he concluded 
to try the low ground again, especially as he wanted 
to start a brickyard this time. He bought a flat, 
and put out a hundred thousand bricks to dry 
preparatory to baking them. But luck appeared 
to be against him. A volcano shoved itself through 
there that night, and elevated his brickyard about 
two thousand feet in the air. It irritated him a 



MARK TWAIN 

good deal. He has been up there, and he says the 
bricks are all baked right enough, but he can't get 
them down. At first, he thought maybe the govern- 
ment would get the bricks down for him, because 
since government bought the island, it ought to 
protect the property where a man has invested in 
good faith; but all he wants is quiet, and so he is 
not going to apply for the subsidy he was thinking 
about. 

He went back there last week in a couple of ships 
of war, to prospect around the coast for a safe place 
for a farm where he could be quiet; but a great 
"tidal wave" came, and hoisted both of the ships 
out into one of the interior counties, and he came 
near losing his life. So he has given up prospecting 
in a ship, and is discouraged. 

Well, now he don't know what to do. He has 
tried Alaska; but the bears kept after him so much, 
and kept him so much on the jump, as it were, that 
he had to leave the country. He could not be quiet 
there with those bears prancing after him all the 
time. That is how he came to go to the new island 
we have bought St. Thomas. But he is getting 
to think St. Thomas is not quiet enough for a man 
of his turn of mind, and that is why he wishes me to 
find out if government is likely to buy some more 
islands shortly. He has heard that government is 
thinking about buying Porto Rico. If that is true, 
he wishes to try Porto Rico, if it is a quiet place. 
How is Porto Rico for his style of man? Do you 
think the government will buy it? 



SOME LEARNED FABLES, FOR 
GOOD OLD BOYS AND GIRLS 



IN THREEJ PARTS 



PART FIRST 



HOW THE ANIMALS OF THE WOOD SENT OUT 
A SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITION 

ONCE the creatures of the forest held a great con- 
vention and appointed a commission consisting 
of the most illustrious scientists among them to go 
forth, clear beyond the forest and out into the un- 
known and unexplored world, to verify the truth of 
the matters already taught in their schools and col- 
leges and also to make discoveries. It was the most 
imposing enterprise of the kind the nation had ever 
embarked in. True, the government had once sent 
Dr. Bull Frog, with a picked crew, to hunt for a 
northwesterly passage through the swamp to the 
right-hand corner of the wood, and had since sent 
out many expeditions to hunt for Dr. Bull Frog; 
but they never could find him, and so government 
finally gave him up and ennobled his mother to 
show its gratitude for the services her son had 
rendered to science. And once government sent 
Sir Grass Hopper to hunt for the sources of the rill 



MARK TWAIN 

that emptied into the swamp; and afterward sent 
out many expeditions to hunt for Sir Grass, and at 
last they were successful they found his body, but 
if he had discovered the sources meantime, he did 
not let on. So government acted handsomely by 
deceased, and many envied his funeral. 

But these expeditions were trifles compared with 
the present one; for this one comprised among its 
servants the very greatest among the learned; and 
besides it was to go to the utterly unvisited regions 
believed to lie beyond the mighty forest as we 
have remarked before. How the members were 
banqueted, and glorified, and talked about ! Every- 
where that one of them showed himself, straightway 
there was a crowd to gape and stare at him. 

Finally they set off, and it was a sight to see the 
long procession of dry-land Tortoises heavily laden 
with savants, scientific instruments, Glow- Worms and 
Fire-Flies for signal service, provisions, Ants and 
Tumble-Bugs to fetch and carry and delve, Spiders 
to carry the surveying chain and do other engineer- 
ing duty, and so forth and so on; and after the 
Tortoises came another long train of ironclads 
stately and spacious Mud Turtles for marine trans- 
portation service; and from every Tortoise and 
every Turtle flaunted a flaming gladiolus or other 
splendid banner; at the head of the column a great 
band of Bumble-Bees, Mosquitoes, Katy-Dids, and 
Crickets discoursed martial music; and the entire 
train was under the escort and protection of twelve 
picked regiments of the Army Worm. 

At the end of three weeks the expedition emerged 

138 



SOME LEARNED FABLES 

from the forest and looked upon the great Unknown 
World. Their eyes were greeted with an impressive 
spectacle. A vast level plain stretched before them, 
watered by a sinuous stream; and beyond there 
towered up against the sky a long and lofty bar- 
rier of some kind, they did not know what. The 
Tumble-Bug said he believed it was simply land 
tilted up on its edge, because he knew he could see 
trees on it. But Professor Snail and the others 
said: 

"You are hired to dig, sir that is all. We 
need your muscle, not your brains. When we want 
your opinion on scientific matters, we will hasten to 
let you know. Your coolness is intolerable, too 
loafing about here meddling with august matters of 
learning, when the other laborers are pitching camp. 
Go along and help handle the baggage." 

The Tumble-Bug turned on his heel uncrushed, 
unabashed, observing to himself, "If it isn't land 
tilted up, let me die the death of the unrighteous." 

Professor Bull Frog (nephew of the late explorer) 
said he believed the ridge was the wall that inclosed 
the earth. He continued: 

"Our fathers have left us much learning, but they 
had not traveled far, and so we may count this a 
noble new discovery. We are safe for renown now, 
even though our labors began and ended with this 
single achievement. I wonder what this wall is built 
of ? Can it be fungus ? Fungus is an honorable good 
thing to build a wall of." 

Professor Snail adjusted his field-glass and ex- 
amined the rampart critically. Finally he said : 



MARK TWAIN 

"The fact that it is not diaphanous convinces 
me that it is a dense vapor formed by the calorifica- 
tion of ascending moisture dephlogisticated by re- 
fraction. A few endiometrical experiments would 
confirm this, but it is not necessary. The thing is 
obvious." 

So he shut up his glass and went into his shell to 
make a note of the discovery of the world's end, and 
the nature of it. 

"Profound mind!" said Professor Angle- Worm 
to Professor Field-Mouse; "profound mind! noth- 
ing can long remain a mystery to that august 
brain." 

Night drew on apace, the sentinel crickets were 
posted, the Glow- Worm and Fire-Fly lamps were 
lighted, and the camp sank to silence and sleep. 
After breakfast in the morning, the expedition 
moved on. About noon a great avenue was reached, 
which had in it two endless parallel bars of some 
kind of hard black substance, raised the height of 
the tallest Bull Frog above the general level. The 
scientists climbed up on these and examined and 
tested them in various ways. They walked along 
them for a great distance/but found no end and no 
break in them. They could arrive at no decision. 
There was nothing in the records of science that 
mentioned anything of this kind. But at last the 
bald and venerable geographer, Professor Mud 
Turtle, a person who, born poor, and of a drudging 
low family, had, by his own native force raised 
himself to the headship of the geographers of his 
generation, said: 

140 



SOME LEARNED FABLES 

"My friends, we have indeed made a discovery 
here. We have found in a palpable, compact, and 
imperishable state what the wisest of our fathers 
always regarded as a mere thing of the imagination. 
Humble yourselves, my friends, for we stand in a 
majestic presence. These are parallels of latitude!" 

Every heart and every head was bowed, so awful, 
so sublime was the magnitude of the discovery. 
Many shed tears. 

The camp was pitched and the rest of the day 
given up to writing voluminous accounts of the 
marvel, and correcting astronomical tables to fit it. 
Toward midnight a demoniacal shriek was heard, 
then a clattering and rumbling noise, and the next 
instant a vast terrific eye shot by, with a long tail 
attached, and disappeared in the gloom, still uttering 
triumphant shrieks. 

The poor camp laborers were stricken to the heart 
with fright, and stampeded for the high grass in a 
body. But not the scientists. They had no super- 
stitions. They calmly proceeded to exchange theo- 
ries. The ancient geographer's opinion was asked. 
He went into his shell and deliberated long and pro- 
foundly. When he came out at last, they all knew 
by his worshiping countenance that he brought light. 
Said he: 

"Give thanks for this stupendous thing which we 
have been permitted to witness. It is the Vernal 
Equinox!" 

There were shoutings and great rejoicings. 

"But," said the Angle- Worm, uncoiling after 
reflection, "this is dead summer-time." 

141 



MARK TWAIN 

"Very well," said the Turtle, "we are far from 
our region; the season differs with the difference of 
time between the two points." 

"Ah, true. True enough. But it is night. How 
should the sun pass in the night?" 

"In these distant regions he doubtless passes 
always in the night at this hour." 

"Yes, doubtless that is true. But it being night, 
how is it that we could see him?" 

"It is a great mystery. I grant that. But I am 
persuaded that the humidity of the atmosphere in 
these remote regions is such that particles of day- 
light adhere to the disk and it was by aid of these 
that we were enabled to see the sun in the dark." 

This was deemed satisfactory, and due entry was 
made of the decision. 

But about this moment those dreadful shriekings 
were heard again; again the rumbling and thunder- 
ing came speeding up out of the night; and once 
more a flaming great eye flashed by and lost itself 
in gloom and distance. 

The camp laborers gave themselves up for lost. 
The savants were sorely perplexed. Here was a 
marvel hard to account for. They thought and they 
talked, they talked and they thought. Finally the 
learned and aged Lord Grand-Daddy-Longlegs, who 
had been sitting in deep study, with his slender limbs 
crossed and his stemmy arms folded, said: 

"Deliver your opinions, brethren, and then I will 
tell my thought for I think I have solved this 
problem." 

"So be it, good your lordship," piped the weak 
142 



SOME LEARNED FABLES 

treble of the wrinkled and withered Professor Wood- 
louse, "for we shall hear from your lordship's lips 
naught but wisdom." [Here the speaker threw in 
a mess of trite, threadbare, exasperating quotations 
from the ancient poets and philosophers, delivering 
them with unction in the sounding grandeurs of the 
original tongues, they being from the Mastodon, the 
Dodo, and other dead languages.] "Perhaps I 
ought not to presume to meddle with matters per- 
taining to astronomy at all, in such a presence as 
this, I who have made it the business of my life to 
delve only among the riches of the extinct languages 
and unearth the opulence of their ancient lore; but 
still, as unacquainted as I am with the noble science 
of astronomy, I beg with deference and humility to 
suggest that inasmuch as the last of these wonderful 
apparitions proceeded in exactly the opposite direc- 
tion from that pursued by the first, which you decide 
to be the Vernal Equinox, and greatly resembled it 
in all particulars, is it not possible, nay certain, that 
this last is the Autumnal Equi " 

"O-o-o!" "O-o-o! go to bed! go to bed!" 
with annoyed derision from everybody. So the 
poor old Woodlouse retreated out of sight, con- 
sumed with shame. 

Further discussion followed, and then the united 
voice of the commission begged Lord Longlegs to 
speak. He said: 

"Fellow-scientists, it is my belief that we have 
witnessed a thing which has occurred in perfection 
but once before in the knowledge of created beings. 
It is a phenomenon of inconceivable importance and 



MARK TWAIN 

interest, view it as one may, but its interest to us is 
vastly heightened by an added knowledge of its 
nature which no scholar has heretofore possessed or 
even suspected. This great marvel which we have 
just witnessed, fellow-savants (it almost takes my 
breath away), is nothing less than the transit of 
Venus!" 

Every scholar sprang to his feet pale with astonish- 
ment. Then ensued tears, handshakings, frenzied 
embraces, and the most extravagant jubilations of 
every sort. But by and by, as emotion began to retire 
within bounds, and reflection to return to the front, 
the accomplished Chief Inspector Lizard observed : 

"But how is this? Venus should traverse the 
sun's surface, not the earth's." 

The arrow went home. It carried sorrow to the 
breast of every apostle of learning there, for none 
could deny that this was a formidable criticism. But 
tranquilly the venerable Duke crossed his limbs be- 
hind his ears and said: 

"My friend has touched the marrow of our 
mighty discovery. Yes all that have lived before 
us thought a transit of Venus consisted of a flight 
across the sun's face; they thought it, they main- 
tained it, they honestly believed it, simple hearts, 
and were justified in it by the limitations of their 
knowledge ; but to us has been granted the inestima- 
ble boon of proving that the transit occurs across 
the earth's face, for we have SEEN t//" 

The assembled wisdom sat in speechless adoration 
of this imperial intellect. All doubts had instantly 
departed, like night before the lightning. 

144 



SOME LEARNED FABLES 

The Tumble-Bug had just intruded, unnoticed. 
He now came reeling forward among the scholars, 
familiarly slapping first one and then another on the 
shoulder, saying "Nice ('ic!) nice old boy!" and 
smiling a smile of elaborate content. Arrived at a 
good position for speaking, he put his left arm 
akimbo with his knuckles planted in his hip just 
under the edge of his cut-away coat, bent his right 
leg, placing his toe on the ground and resting his 
heel with easy grace against his left shin, puffed out 
his aldermanic stomach, opened his lips, leaned his 
right elbow on Inspector Lizard's shoulder, and 

But the shoulder was indignantly withdrawn and 
the hard-handed son of toil went to earth. He 
floundered a bit, but came up smiling, arranged his 
attitude with the same careful detail as before, only 
choosing Professor Dogtick's shoulder for a support, 
opened his lips and 

Went to earth again. He presently scrambled up 
once more, still smiling, made a loose effort to brush 
the dust off his coat and legs, but a smart pass of 
his hand missed entirely, and the force of the un- 
checked impulse slewed him suddenly around, 
twisted his legs together, and projected him, limber 
and sprawling, into the lap of the Lord Longlegs. 
Two or three scholars sprang forward, flung the low 
creature head over heels into a corner, and reinstated 
the patrician, smoothing his ruffled dignity with 
many soothing and regretful speeches. Professor 
Bull Frog roared out: 

"No more of this, sirrah Tumble-Bug! Say your 
say and then get you about your business with 

US 



MARK TWAIN 

speed ! Quick what is your errand ? Come 
move off a trifle; you smell like a stable; what have 
you been at?" 

"Please ('ic!) please your worship I chanced to 
light upon a find. But no m (e-uck!) matter 'bout 
that. There's b ('ic!) been another find which 
beg pardon, your honors, what was that th ('ic!) 
thing that ripped by here first?" 

"It was the Vernal Equinox." 

"Inf ('ic!) fernal equinox. 'At's all right. D 
('ic!) Dunno him. What's other one?" 

"The transit of Venus." 

"G ('ic!) Got me again. No matter. Las' one 
dropped something." 

"Ah, indeed! Good luck! Good news! Quick 
what is it?" 

"M ('ic!) Mosey out 'n' see. It '11 pay." 

No more votes were taken for four-and-twenty 
hours. Then the following entry was made: 

"The commission went in a body to view the 
find. It was found to consist of a hard, smooth, 
huge object with a rounded summit surmounted by 
a short upright projection resembling a section of a 
cabbage stalk divided transversely. This projection 
was not solid, but was a hollow cylinder plugged 
with a soft woody substance unknown to our region 
that is, it had been so plugged, but unfortunately 
this obstruction had been heedlessly removed by 
Norway Rat, Chief of the Sappers and Miners, be- 
fore our arrival. The vast object before us, so 
mysteriously conveyed from the glittering domains 
of space, was found to be hollow and nearly filled 

146 



SOME LEARNED FABLES 

with a pungent liquid of a brownish hue, like rain- 
water that has stood for some time. And such a 
spectacle as met our view! Norway Rat was 
perched upon the summit engaged in thrusting his 
tail into the cylindrical projection, drawing it out 
dripping, permitting the struggling multitude of 
laborers to suck the end of it, then straightway rein- 
serting it and delivering the fluid to the mob as 
before. Evidently this liquor had strangely potent 
qualities ; for all that partook of it were immediately 
exalted with great and pleasurable emotions, and 
went staggering about singing ribald songs, em- 
bracing, fighting, dancing, discharging irruptions of 
profanity, and defying all authority. Around us 
struggled a massed and uncontrolled mob uncon- 
trolled and likewise uncontrollable, for the whole 
army, down to the very sentinels, were mad like 
the rest, by reason of the drink. We were seized 
upon by these reckless creatures, and within the 
hour we, even we, were undistinguishable from the 
rest the demoralization was complete and uni- 
versal. In time the camp wore itself out with its 
orgies and sank into a stolid and pitiable stupor, in 
whose mysterious bonds rank was forgotten and 
strange bedfellows made, our eyes, at the resurrec- 
tion, being blasted and our souls petrified with the 
incredible spectacle of that intolerable stinking 
scavenger, the Tumble - Bug, and the illustrious 
patrician my Lord Grand Daddy, Duke of Long- 
legs, lying soundly steeped in sleep, and clasped 
lovingly in each other's arms, the like whereof hath 
not been seen in all the ages that tradition com- 

147 



MARK TWAIN 

passeth, and doubtless none shall ever in this world 
find faith to master the belief of it save only we that 
have beheld the damnable and unholy vision. Thus 
inscrutable be the ways of God, whose will be done ! 

"This day, by order, did the engineer-in-chief, 
Herr Spider, rig the necessary tackle for the over- 
turning of the vast reservoir, and so its calamitous 
contents were discharged in a torrent upon the 
thirsty earth, which drank it up, and now there is no 
more danger, we reserving but a few drops for ex- 
periment and scrutiny, and to exhibit to the king 
and subsequently preserve among the wonders of 
the museum. What this liquid is has been deter- 
mined. It is without question that fierce and most 
destructive fluid called lightning. It was wrested, in 
its container, from its storehouse in the clouds, by 
the resistless might of the flying planet, and hurled 
at our feet as she sped by. An interesting discovery 
here results. Which is, that lightning, kept to itself, 
is quiescent; it is the assaulting contact of the 
thunderbolt that releases it from captivity, ignites its 
awful fires, and so produces an instantaneous com- 
bustion and explosion which spread disaster and 
desolation far and wide in the earth." 

After another day devoted to rest and recovery, 
the expedition proceeded upon its way. Some days 
later it went into camp in a pleasant part of the 
plain, and the savants sallied forth to see what they 
might find. Their reward was at hand. Professor 
Bull Frog discovered a strange tree, and called his 
comrades. They inspected it with profound interest. 
It was very tall and straight, and wholly devoid of 

148 



SOME LEARNED FABLES 

bark, limbs, or foliage. By triangulation Lord Long- 
legs determined its altitude; Herr Spider measured 
its circumference at the base and computed the 
circumference at its top by a mathematical demon- 
stration based upon the warrant furnished by the 
uniform degree of its taper upward. It was con- 
sidered a very extraordinary find; and since it was 
a tree of a hitherto unknown species, Professor 
Woodlouse gave it a name of a learned sound, 
being none other than that of Professor Bull Frog 
translated into the ancient Mastodon language, for 
it had always been the custom with discoverers 
to perpetuate their names and honor themselves by 
this sort of connection with their discoveries. 

Now Professor Field-Mouse having placed his 
sensitive ear to the tree, detected a rich, harmonious 
sound issuing from it. This surprising thing was 
tested and enjoyed by each scholar in turn, and 
great was the gladness and astonishment of all. 
Professor Woodlouse was requested to add to and 
extend the tree's name so as to make it suggest the 
musical quality it possessed which he did, furnish- 
ing the addition Anthem Singer, done into the Mas- 
todon tongue. 

By this time Professor Snail was making some 
telescopic inspections. He discovered a great num- 
ber of these trees, extending in a single rank, with 
wide intervals between, as far as his instrument 
would carry, both southward and northward. He 
also presently discovered that all these trees were 
bound together, near their tops, by fourteen great 
ropes, one above another, which ropes were con- 

149 



MARK TWAIN 

tinuous, from tree to tree, as far as his vision could 
reach. This was surprising. Chief Engineer Spider 
ran aloft and soon reported that these ropes were 
simply a web hung there by some colossal member 
of his own species, for he could see its prey dangling 
here and there from the strands, in the shape of 
mighty shreds and rags that had a woven look about 
their texture and were no doubt the discarded skins 
of prodigious insects which had been caught and 
eaten. And then he ran along one of the ropes to 
make a closer inspection, but felt a smart sudden 
burn on the soles of his feet, accompanied by a 
paralyzing shock, wherefore he let go and swung 
himself to the earth by a thread of his own spinning, 
and advised all to hurry at once to camp, lest the 
monster should appear and get as much interested 
in the savants as they were in him and his works. 
So they departed with speed, making notes about 
the gigantic web as they went. And that evening 
the naturalist of the expedition built a beautiful 
model of the colossal spider, having no need to see 
it in order to do this, because he had picked up a 
fragment of its vertebras by the tree, and so knew 
exactly what the creature looked like and what its 
habits and its preferences were by this simple evi- 
dence alone. He built it with a tail, teeth, fourteen 
legs, and a snout, and said it ate grass, cattle, pebbles, 
and dirt with equal enthusiasm. This animal was 
regarded as a very precious addition to science. It 
was hoped a dead one might be found to stuff. 
Professor Woodlouse thought that he and his 
brother scholars, by lying hid and being quiet, 

150 



SOME LEARNED FABLES 

might maybe catch a live one. He was advised to 
try it. Which was all the attention that was paid 
to his suggestion. The conference ended with the 
naming the monster after the naturalist, since he, 
after God, had created it. 

"And improved it, mayhap," muttered the Tum- 
ble-Bug, who was intruding again, according to his 
idle custom and his unappeasable curiosity. 



END OF PART FIRST 



SOME LEARNED FABLES FOR 
GOOD OLD BOYS AND GIRLS 



PART SECOND 



HOW THE ANIMALS OF THE WOOD COMPLETED THEIR 
SCIENTIFIC LABORS 

A WEEK later the expedition camped in the 
midst of a collection of wonderful curiosities. 
These were a sort of vast caverns of stone that rose 
singly and in bunches out of the plain by the side 
of the river which they had first seen when they 
emerged from the forest. These caverns stood in 
long, straight rows on opposite sides of broad aisles 
that were bordered with single ranks of trees. The 
summit of each cavern sloped sharply both ways. 
Several horizontal rows of great square holes, ob- 
structed by a thin, shiny, transparent substance, 
pierced the frontage of each cavern. Inside were 
caverns within caverns; and one might ascend and 
visit these minor compartments by means of curious 
winding ways consisting of continuous regular ter- 
races raised one above another. There were many 
huge, shapeless objects in each compartment which 
were considered to have been living creatures at one 
time, though now the thin brown skin was shrunken 

152 



SOME LEARNED FABLES 

and loose, and rattled when disturbed. Spiders 
were here in great number, and their cobwebs, 
stretched in all directions and wreathing the great 
skinny dead together, were a pleasant spectacle, 
since they inspired with life and wholesome cheer 
a scene which would otherwise have brought to the 
mind only a sense of forsakenness and desolation. 
Information was sought of these spiders, but in 
vain. They were of a different nationality from 
those with the expedition, and their language seemed 
but a musical, meaningless jargon. They were a 
timid, gentle race, but ignorant, and heathenish 
worshipers of unknown gods. The expedition de- 
tailed a great detachment of missionaries to teach 
them the true religion, and in a week's time a 
precious work had been wrought among those dark- 
ened creatures, not three families being by that time 
at peace with each other or having a settled belief 
in any system of religion whatever. This encour- 
aged the expedition to establish a colony of mission- 
aries there permanently, that the work of grace might 
go on. 

But let us not outrun our narrative. After close 
examination of the fronts of the caverns, and much 
thinking and exchanging of theories, the scientists 
determined the nature of these singular formations. 
They said that each belonged mainly to the Old Red 
Sandstone period; that the cavern fronts rose in 
innumerable and wonderfully regular strata high in 
the air, each stratum about five frog-spans thick, 
and that in the present discovery lay an overpower- 
ing refutation of all received geology; for between 

i53 



MARK TWAIN 

every two layers of Old Red Sandstone reposed a 
thin layer of decomposed limestone; so instead of 
there having been but one Old Red Sandstone period 
there had certainly been not less than a hundred and 
seventy-five! And by the same token it was plain 
that there had also been a hundred and seventy-five 
floodings of the earth and depositings of limestone 
strata ! The unavoidable deduction from which pair 
of facts was the overwhelming truth that the world, 
instead of being only two hundred thousand years 
old, was older by millions upon millions of years! 
And there was another curious thing: every stratum 
of Old Red Sandstone was pierced and divided at 
mathematically regular intervals by vertical strata 
of limestone. Up-shootings of igneous rock through 
fractures in water formations were common; but here 
was the first instance where water-formed rock had 
been so projected. It was a great and noble dis- 
covery, and its value to science was considered to be 
inestimable. 

A critical examination of some of the lower strata 
demonstrated the presence of fossil ants and tumble- 
bugs (the latter accompanied by their peculiar 
goods), and with high gratification the fact was 
enrolled upon the scientific record; for this was 
proof that these vulgar laborers belonged to the 
first and lowest orders of created beings, though at 
the same time there was something repulsive in the 
reflection that the perfect and exquisite creature of 
the modern uppermost order owed its origin to such 
ignominious beings through the mysterious law of 
Development of Species. 



SOME LEARNED FABLES 

The Tumble-Bug, overhearing this discussion, said 
he was willing that the parvenus of these new 
times should find what comfort they might in their 
wise-drawn theories, since as far as he was con- 
cerned he was content to be of the old first families 
and proud to point back to his place among the old 
original aristocracy of the land. 

"Enjoy your mushroom dignity, stinking of the 
varnish of yesterday's veneering, since you like it," 
said he; "suffice it for the Tumble-Bugs that they 
come of a race that rolled their fragrant spheres 
down the solemn aisles of antiquity, and left their 
imperishable works embalmed in the Old Red Sand- 
stone to proclaim it to the wasting centuries as they 
file along the highway of Time!" 

"Oh, take a walk!" said the chief of the expedi- 
tion, with derision. 

The summer passed, and winter approached. In 
and about many of the caverns were what seemed to 
be inscriptions. Most of the scientists said they 
were inscriptions, a few said they were not. The 
chief philologist, Professor Woodlouse, maintained 
that they were writings, done in a character- utter- 
ly unknown to scholars, and in a language equal- 
ly unknown. He had early ordered his artists 
and draftsmen to make facsimiles of all that were 
discovered; and had set himself about finding the 
key to the hidden tongue. In this work he had 
followed the method which had always been used by 
decipherers previously. That is to say, he placed a 
number of copies of inscriptions before him and 
studied them both collectively and in detail. To 



MARK TWAIN 

begin with, he placed the following copies to- 
gether: 

THE AMERICAN HOTEL. MEALS AT ALL HOURS. 

THE SHADES. No SMOKING. 

BOATS FOR HIRE CHEAP, UNION PRAYER MEETING, 4 P.M. 

BILLIARDS. THE WATERSIDE JOURNAL. 

THE A i BARBER SHOP. TELEGRAPH OFFICE. 

KEEP OFF THE GRASS. TRY BRANDRETH'S PILLS. 

COTTAGES FOR RENT DURING THE WATERING SEASON. 

FOR SALE CHEAP. FOR SALE CHEAP. 

FOR SALE CHEAP. FOR SALE CHEAP. 

At first it seemed to the professor that this was a 
sign-language, and that each word was represented 
by a distinct sign; further examination convinced 
him that it was a written language, and that every 
letter of its alphabet was represented by a character 
of its own; and finally he decided that it was a 
language which conveyed itself partly by letters, 
and partly by signs or hieroglyphics. This conclu- 
sion was forced upon him by the discovery of several 
specimens of the following nature: 

He observed that certain inscriptions were met 
with in greater frequency than others. Such as 
"FOR SALE CHEAP"; "BILLIARDS"; "S. T. 1860 
-X";"KENO"; "ALE ON DRAUGHT." Naturally, 
then, these must be religious maxims. But this 
idea was cast aside by and by, as the mystery of 
the strange alphabet began to clear itself. In time, 
the professor was enabled to translate several of the 
inscriptions with considerable plausibility, though 
not to the perfect satisfaction of all the scholars. 
Still, he made constant and encouraging progress. 

156 



SOME LEARNED FABLES 

Finally a cavern was discovered with these in- 
scriptions upon it: 

WATERSIDE MUSEUM. 
Open at All Hours. 
Admission 50 cents. 

WONDERFUL COLLECTION OF 

WAX-WORKS, ANCIENT FOSSILS, 

ETC. 

Professor Woodlouse af- 
firmed that the word "Mu- 
seum" was equivalent to 
the phrase "lumgath molo," 
or "Burial Place." Upon 
entering, the scientists were 
well astonished. But what 
they saw may be best con- 
veyed in the language of 
their own official report: 

"Erect, in a row, were a 
sort of rigid great figures 
which struck us instantly 
as belonging to the long 
extinct species of reptile 
called MAN, described in 
our ancient records. This 
was a peculiarly gratify- 
ing discovery, because of late times it has become 
fashionable to regard this creature as a myth and a 
superstition, a work of the inventive imaginations of 
our remote ancestors. But here, indeed, was Man, 




MARK TWAIN 

perfectly preserved, in a fossil state. And this was 
his burial place, as already ascertained by the in- 
scription. And now it began to be suspected that 
the caverns we had been inspecting had been his 
ancient haunts in that old time that he roamed the 
earth for upon the breast of each of these tall 
fossils was an inscription in the character heretofore 
noticed. One read, 'CAPTAIN KIDD THE PIRATE'; 
another, 'QUEEN VICTORIA'; another, 'ABE LIN- 
COLN'; another, 'GEORGE WASHINGTON,' etc. 

"With feverish interest we called for our ancient 
scientific records to discover if perchance the de- 
scription of Man there set down would tally with 
the fossils before us. Professor Woodlouse read it 
aloud in its quaint and musty phraseology, to wit: 

'"In y e time of our fathers Man still walked y e 
earth, as by tradition we know. It was a creature 
of exceeding great size, being compassed about with 
a loose skin, sometimes of one color, sometimes of 
many, the which it was able to cast at will; which 
being done, the hind legs were discovered to be 
armed with short claws like to a mole's but broader, 
and y e forelegs with fingers of a curious slimness 
and a length much more prodigious than a frog's, 
armed also with broad talons for scratching in y e 
earth for its food. It had a sort of feathers upon 
its head such as hath a rat, but longer, and a beak 
suitable for seeking its food by y e smell thereof. 
When it was stirred with happiness, it leaked water 
from its eyes; and when it suffered or was sad, it 
manifested it with a horrible hellish cackling clamor 
that was exceeding dreadful to hear and made one 

158 



SOME LEARNED FABLES 

long that it might rend itself and perish, and so end 
its troubles. Two Mans being together, they uttered 
noises at each other like this: "Haw-haw-haw 
dam good, dam good," together with other sounds 
of more or less likeness to these, wherefore y e poets 
conceived that they talked, but poets be always 
ready to catch at any frantic folly, God he knows. 
Sometimes this creature goeth about with a long 
stick y e which it putteth to its face and bloweth fire 
and smoke through y e same with a sudden and most 
damnable bruit and noise that doth fright its prey to 
death, and so seizeth it in its talons and walketh 
away to its habitat, consumed with a most fierce and 
devilish joy.' 

"Now was the description set forth by our an- 
cestors wonderfully indorsed and confirmed by the 
fossils before us, as shall be seen. The specimen 
marked 'Captain Kidd' was examined in detail. 
Upon its head and part of its face was a sort of fur 
like that upon the tail of a horse. With great labor 
its loose skin was removed, whereupon its body was 
discovered to be of a polished white texture, thor- 
oughly petrified. The straw it had eaten, so many 
ages gone by, was still in its body, undigested and 
even in its legs. 

"Surrounding these fossils were objects that would 
mean nothing to the ignorant, but to the eye of 
science they were a revelation. They laid bare the 
secrets of dead ages. These musty Memorials told 
us when Man lived, and what were his habits. For 
here, side by side with Man, were the evidences 
that he had lived in the earliest ages of creation, the 



MARK TWAIN 

companion of the other low orders of life that be- 
longed to that forgotten time. Here was the fossil 
nautilus that sailed the primeval seas; here was the 
skeleton of the mastodon, the ichthyosaurus, the 
cave-bear, the prodigious elk. Here, also, were the 
charred bones of some of these extinct animals and 
of the young of Man's own species, split length- 
wise, showing that to his taste the marrow was 
a toothsome luxury. It was plain that Man had 
robbed those bones of their contents, since no tooth- 
mark of any beast was upon them albeit the 
Tumble-Bug intruded the remark that 'no beast 
could mark a bone with its teeth, anyway.' Here 
were proofs that Man had vague, groveling notions 
of art; for this fact was conveyed by certain things 
marked with the untranslatable words, 'FLINT 
HATCHETS, KNIVES, ARROW -HEADS, AND BONE 
ORNAMENTS OF PRIMEVAL MAN.' Some of these 
seemed to be rude weapons chipped out of flint, and 
in a secret place was found some more in process of 
construction, with this untranslatable legend, on a 
thin, flimsy material, lying by: 

" 'Jones, if you don't want to be discharged from 
the Musseum, make the next primeaveal weppons more 
careful you couldn't even fool one of these sleapy old 
syentiffic grannys from the Coledge with the last ones. 
And mind you the animles you carved on some of the 
Bone Ornaments is a blame sight too good for any 
primeaveal man that was ever fooled. Varnum, 
Manager.' 

"Back of the burial place was a mass of ashes, 
showing that Man always had a feast at a funeral 

160 



SOME LEARNED FABLES 

else why the ashes in such a place; and showing, 
also, that he believed in God and the immortality of 
the soul else why these solemn ceremonies ? 

"To sum up. We believe that Man had a written 
language. We know that he indeed existed at one 
time, and is not a myth; also, that he was the com- 
panion of the cave-bear, the mastodon, and other 
extinct species; that he cooked and ate them and 
likewise the young of his own kind; also, that he 
bore rude weapons, and knew something of art; 
that he imagined he had a soul, and pleased himself 
with the fancy that it was immortal. But let us not 
laugh; there may be creatures in existence to whom 
we and our vanities and profundities may seem as 
ludicrous." 



END OF PART SECOND 



SOME LEARNED FABLES FOR 
GOOD OLD BOYS AND GIRLS 



PART THIRD 



NEAR the margin of the great river the scientists 
presently found a huge, shapely stone, with 
this inscription: 

"In 1847, in the spring, the river overflowed its banks 
and covered the whole township. The depth was from 
two to six feet. More than QOO head of cattle were 
lost, and many homes destroyed. The Mayor ordered 
this memorial to be erected to perpetuate the event. 
God spare us the repetition of it!" 

With infinite trouble, Professor Woodlouse suc- 
ceeded in making a translation of this inscription, 
which was sent home, and straightway an enormous 
excitement was created about it. It confirmed, in a 
remarkable way, certain treasured traditions of the 
ancients. The translation was slightly marred by 
one or two untranslatable words, but these did not 
impair the general clearness of the meaning. It is 
here presented: 

"One thousand eight hundred and forty-seven years 
ago, the (fires?) descended and consumed the whole 
city. Only some nine hundred souls were saved, all 
others destroyed. The (king?) commanded this stone 

162 



SOME LEARNED FABLES 

to be set up to . . . (untranslatable} . . . prevent the 
repetition of it." 

This was the first successful and satisfactory trans- 
lation that had been made of the mysterious char- 
acter left behind him by extinct man, and it gave 
Professor Woodlouse such reputation that at once 
every seat of learning in his native land conferred a 
degree of the most illustrious grade upon him, and 
it was believed that if he had been a soldier and had 
turned his splendid talents to the extermination of 
a remote tribe of reptiles, the king would have en- 
nobled him and made him rich. And this, too, was 
the origin of that school of scientists called Manolo- 
gists, whose specialty is the deciphering of the 
ancient records of the extinct bird termed Man. 
[For it is now decided that Man was a bird and not 
a reptile.] But Professor Woodlouse began and re- 
mained chief of these, for it was granted that no 
translations were ever so free from error as his. 
Others made mistakes he seemed incapable of it. 
Many a memorial of the lost race was afterward 
found, but none ever attained to the renown and 
veneration achieved by the "Mayoritish Stone" 
it being so called from the word "Mayor" in 
it, which, being translated "King," "Mayoritish 
Stone" was but another way of saying "King 
Stone." 

Another time the expedition made a great "find." 
It was a vast round flattish mass, ten frog-spans in 
diameter and five or six high. Professor Snail put 
on his spectacles and examined it all around, and 
then climbed up and inspected the top. He said: 

163 



MARK TWAIN 

' ' The result of my perlustration and perscontation 
of this isoperimetrical protuberance is a belief that 
it is one of those rare and wonderful creations left 
by the Mound Builders. The fact that this one is 
lamellibranchiate in its formation, simply adds to its 
interest as being possibly of a different kind from 
any we read of in the records of science, but yet in 
no manner marring its authenticity. Let the megalo- 
phonous grasshopper sound a blast and summon 
hither the perfunctory and circumforaneous Tumble- 
Bug, to the end that excavations may be made and 
learning gather new treasures." 

Not a Tumble-Bug could be found on duty, so 
the Mound was excavated by a working party of 
Ants. Nothing was discovered. This would have 
been a great disappointment, had not the venerable 
Longlegs explained the matter. He said: 

"It is now plain to me that the mysterious and 
forgotten race of Mound Builders did not always 
erect these edifices as mausoleums, else in this case, 
as in all previous cases, their skeletons would be 
found here, along with the rude implements which 
the creatures used in life. Is not this manifest?" 

"True! true!" from everybody. 

"Then we have made a discovery of peculiar 
value here; a discovery which greatly expends our 
knowledge of this creature in place ofy^iminishing 
it; a discovery which will add luster to the achieve- 
ments of this expedition and win for us the com- 
mendations of scholars everywhere. For the absence 
of the customary relics here means nothing less than 
this : The Mound Builder, instead of being the igno- 

164 



SOME LEARNED FABLES 

rant, savage reptile we have been taught to consider 
him, was a creature of cultivation and high intelli- 
gence, capable of not only appreciating worthy 
achievements of the great and noble of his species, 
but of commemorating them! Fellow-scholars, this 
stately Mound is not a sepulcher, it is a monument !" 

A profound impression was produced by this. 

But it was interrupted by rude and derisive 
laughter and the Tumble-Bug appeared. 

"A monument !" quoth he. "A monument set up 
by a Mound Builder ! Aye, so it is ! So it is, indeed, 
to the shrewd keen eye of science ; but to an ignorant 
poor devil who has never seen a college, it is not a 
Monument, strictly speaking, but is yet a most rich 
and noble property; and with your worship's good 
permission I will proceed to manufacture it into 
spheres of exceedings grace and " 

The Tumble-Bug was driven away with stripes, 
and the draftsmen of the expedition were set to 
making views of the Monument from different stand- 
points, while Professor Woodlouse, in a frenzy of 
scientific zeal, traveled all over it and all around it 
hoping to find an inscription. But if there had ever 
been one, it had decayed or been removed by some 
vandal as a relic. 

The views having been completed, it was now 
considered safe to load the precious Monument itself 
upon the backs of four of the largest Tortoises and 
send it home to the king's museum, which was 
done; and when it arrived it was received with 
enormous eclat and escorted to its future abiding- 
place by thousands of enthusiastic citizens, King 

165 



MARK TWAIN 

Bullfrog XVI. himself attending and condescending 
to sit enthroned upon it throughout the progress. 

The growing rigor of the weather was now ad- 
monishing the scientists to close their labors for the 
present", so they made preparations to journey home- 
ward. But even their last day among the Caverns 
bore fruit; for one of the scholars found in an 
out-of-the-way corner of the Museum or "Burial 
Place" a most strange and extraordinary thing. It 
was nothing less than a double Man-Bird lashed 
together breast to breast by a natural ligament, and 
labeled with the untranslatable words, "Siamese 
Twins." The official report concerning this thing 
closed thus: 

"Wherefore it appears that there were in old 
times two distinct species of this majestic fowl, the 
one being single and the other double. Nature has 
a reason for all things. It is plain to the eye of 
science that the Double-Man originally inhabited a 
region where dangers abounded; hence he was 
paired together to the end that while one part slept 
the other might watch; and likewise that, danger 
being discovered, there might always be a double 
instead of a single power to oppose it. All honor 
to the mystery-dispelling eye of godlike Science!" 

And near the Double Man-Bird was found what 
was plainly an ancient record of his, marked upon 
numberless sheets of a thin white substance and 
bound together. Almost the first glance that Pro- 
fessor Woodlouse threw into it revealed this follow- 
ing sentence, which he instantly translated and laid 
before the scientists, in a tremble, and it uplifted 

166 



SOME LEARNED FABLES 

every soul there with exultation and astonish- 
ment: 

"In truth it is believed by many that the lower 
animals reason and talk together." 

When the great official report of the expedition 
appeared, the above sentence bore this comment: 

"Then there are lower animals than Man! This 
remarkable passage can mean nothing else. Man 
himself is extinct, but they may still exist. What 
can they be? Where do they inhabit? One's en- 
thusiasm bursts all bounds in the contemplation of 
the brilliant field of discovery and investigation here 
thrown open to science. We close our labors with 
the humble prayer that your Majesty will immedi- 
ately appoint a commission and command it to rest 
not nor spare expense until the search for this 
hitherto unsuspected race of the creatures of God 
shall be crowned with success." 

The expedition then journeyed homeward after its 
long absence and its faithful endeavors, and was re- 
ceived with a mighty ovation by the whole grateful 
country. There were vulgar, ignorant carpers, of 
course, as there always are and always will be; and 
naturally one of these was the obscene Tumble-Bug. 
He said that all he had learned by his travels was 
that science only needed a spoonful of supposition 
to build a mountain of demonstrated fact out of; 
and that for the future he meant to be content with 
the knowledge that nature had made free to all 
creatures and not go prying into the august secrets 
of the Deity. 



MY LATE SENATORIAL 
SECRETARYSHIP 1 

I AM not a private secretary to a senator any more 
now. I held the berth two months in security 
and in great cheerfulness of spirit, but my bread 
began to return from over the waters then that is 
to say, my works came back and revealed them- 
selves. I judged it best to resign. The way of it 
was this. My employer sent for me one morning 
tolerably early, and, as soon as I had finished in- 
serting some conundrums clandestinely into his last 
great speech upon finance, I entered the presence. 
There was something portentous in his appearance. 
His cravat was untied, his hair was in a state of 
disorder, and his countenance bore about it the signs 
of a suppressed storm. He held a package of letters 
in his tense grasp, and I knew that the dreaded 
Pacific mail was in. He said: 

"I thought you were worthy of confidence." 

I said, "Yes, sir." 

He said, "I gave you a letter from certain of my 
constituents in the State of Nevada, asking the 
establishment of a post-office at Baldwin's Ranch, 
and told you to answer it, as ingeniously as you 
could, with arguments which should persuade them 

1 Written about 1867. 
1 68 



MY SENATORIAL SECRETARYSHIP 

that there was no real necessity for an office at that 
place." 

I felt easier. ' ' Oh, if that is all, sir, I did do that. " 
"Yes, you did. I will read your answer for your 
own humiliation : 

'"WASHINGTON, Nov. 24. 
"'Messrs. Smith, Jones, and others. 

"'GENTLEMEN: What the mischief do you suppose you want 
with a post-office at Baldwin's Ranch? It would not do you 
any good. If any letters came there, you couldn't read them, 
you know; and, besides, such letters as ought to pass through, 
with money in them, for other localities, would not be likely 
to get through, you must perceive at once; and that would make 
trouble for us all. No, don't bother about a post-office in your 
camp. I have your best interests at heart, and feel that it 
would only be an ornamental folly. What you want is a nice 
jail, you know a nice, substantial jail and a free school. These 
will be a lasting benefit to you. These will make you really 
contented and happy. I will move in the matter at once. 

"'Very truly, etc., 

"'MARK TWAIN, 
"'For James W. N , U. S. Senator.' 

"That is the way you answered that letter. Those 
people say they will hang me, if I ever enter that 
district again; and I am perfectly satisfied they will, 
too." 

"Well, sir, I did not know I was doing any harm. 
I only wanted to convince them." 

"Ah. Well, you did convince them, I make no 
manner of doubt. Now, here is another specimen. 
I gave you a petition from certain gentlemen of 
Nevada, praying that I would get a bill through 
Congress incorporating the Methodist Episcopal 
Church of the State of Nevada. I told you to say, 

169 



MARK TWAIN 

in reply, that the creation of such a law came more 
properly within the province of the state legisla- 
ture; and to endeavor to show them that, in the 
present feebleness of the religious element in that 
new commonwealth, the expediency of incorporat- 
ing the church was questionable. What did you 

write? 

"'WASHINGTON, Nov. 24. 
"'Rev. John Halifax and others. 

"'GENTLEMEN: You will have to go to the state legislature 
about that speculation of yours Congress don't know anything 
about religion. But don't you hurry to go there, either; be- 
cause this thing you propose to do out in that new country isn't 
expedient in fact, it is ridiculous. Your religious people there 
are too feeble, in intellect, in morality, in piety in everything, 
pretty much. You had better drop this you can't make it 
work. You can't issue stock on an incorporation like that or 
if you could, it would only keep you in trouble all the time. The 
other denominations would abuse it, and "bear" it, and "sell 
it short," and break it down. They would do with it just as 
they would with one of your silver-mines out there they would 
try to make all the world believe it was "wildcat." You ought 
not to do anything that is calculated to bring a sacred thing 
into disrepute. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves that 
is what / think about it. You close your petition with the 
words: "And we will ever pray." I think you had better 
you need to do it. "'Very truly, etc., 

'"MARK TWAIN, 
'"For James W. N , U. S. Senator.' 

"That luminous epistle finishes me with the 
religious element among my constituents. But that 
my political murder might be made sure, some evil 
instinct prompted me to hand you this memorial 
from the grave company of elders composing the 
board of aldermen of the city of San Francisco, to 
try your hand upon a memorial praying that the 

170 



MY SENATORIAL SECRETARYSHIP 

city's right to the water-lots upon the city front 
might be established by law of Congress. I told 
you this was a dangerous matter to move in. I 
told you to write a non-committal letter to the 
aldermen an ambiguous letter a letter that should 
avoid, as far as possible, all real consideration and 
discussion of the water-lot question. If there is any 
feeling left in you any shame surely this letter 
you wrote, in obedience to that order, ought to 
evoke it, when its words fall upon your ears: 

'"WASHINGTON, Nov. 27. 
"'The Honorable Board of Aldermen, etc. 

" ' GENTLEMEN: George Washington, the revered Father of his 
Country, is dead. His long and brilliant career is closed, alas! 
forever. He was greatly respected in this section of the country, 
and his untimely decease cast a gloom over the whole community. 
He died on the i4th day of December, 1799. He passed peace- 
fully away from the scene of his honors and his great achieve- 
ments, the most lamented hero and the best beloved that ever 
earth hath yielded unto Death. At such a time as this, you 
speak of water-lots! what a lot was his! 

"'What is fame! Fame is an accident. Sir Isaac Newton 
discovered an apple falling to the ground a trivial discovery, 
truly, and one which a million men had made before him but 
his parents were influential, and so they tortured that small 
circumstance into something wonderful, and, lo! the simple 
world took up the shout and, in almost the twinkling of an eye, 
that man was famous. Treasure these thoughts. 

'"Poesy, sweet poesy, who shall estimate what the world 
owes to thee! 

" Mary had a little lamb, its fleece was white as snow 
And everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go.'* 

"Jack and Gill went up the hill 

To draw a pail of water; 
Jack fell down and broke his crown, 
And Gill came tumbling after." 
171 



MARK TWAIN 

"'For simplicity, elegance of diction, and freedom from im- 
moral tendencies, I regard those two poems in the light of gems. 
They are suited to all grades of intelligence, to every sphere of 
life to the field, to the nursery, to the guild. Especially should 
no Board of Aldermen be without them. 

'"Venerable fossils! write again. Nothing improves one so 
much as friendly correspondence. Write again and if there is 
anything in this memorial of yours that refers to anything in 
particular, do not be backward about explaining it. We shall 
always be happy to hear you chirp. 

"'Very truly, etc., 

'"MARK TWAIN, 
'"For James W. N , U. S. Senator.' 



"That is an atrocious, a ruinous epistle! Dis- 
traction!" 

"Well, sir, I am really sorry if there is anything 
wrong about it but but it appears to me to dodge 
the water-lot question." 

"Dodge the mischief! Oh! but never mind. 
As long as destruction must come now, let it be 
complete. Let it be complete let this last of your 
performances, which I am about to read, make a 
finality of it. I am a ruined man. I had my mis- 
givings when I gave you the letter from Humboldt, 
asking that the post route from Indian Gulch 
to Shakespeare Gap and intermediate points be 
changed partly to the old Mormon trail. But I told 
you it was a delicate question, and warned you to 
deal with it deftly to answer it dubiously, and 
leave them a little in the dark. And your fatal im- 
becility impelled you to make this disastrous reply. 
I should think you would stop your ears, if you are 
not dead to all shame : 

172 



MY SENATORIAL SECRETARYSHIP 

'"WASHINGTON, Nov. 30. 
"'Messrs. Perkins, Wagner, et al. 

'"GENTLEMEN: It is a delicate question about this Indian 
trail, but, handled with proper deftness and dubiousness, I 
doubt not we shall succeed in some measure or otherwise, be- 
cause the place where the route leaves the Lassen Meadows, 
over beyond where those two Shawnee chiefs, Dilapidated- 
Vengeance and Biter-of-the-Clouds, were scalped last winter, 
this being the favorite direction to some, but others preferring 
something else in consequence of things, the Mormon trail leav- 
ing Mosby's at three in the morning, and passing through Jaw- 
bone Flat to Blucher, and then down by Jug-Handle, the road 
passing to the right of it, and naturally leaving it on the right, 
too, and Dawson's on the left of the trail where it passes to the 
left of said Dawson's and onward thence to Tomahawk, thus mak- 
ing the route cheaper, easier of access to all who can get at it, 
and compassing all the desirable objects so considered by others, 
and, therefore, conferring the most good upon the greatest 
number, and, consequently, I am encouraged to hope we shall. 
However, I shall be ready, and happy, to afford you still further 
information upon the subject, from time to time, as you may 
desire it and the Post-office Department be enabled to furnish 
it to me. 

"'Very truly, etc., 

"'MARK TWAIN, 
"'For James W. N , U. S. Senator.' 

"There now what do you think of that?" 

"Well, I don't know, sir. It well, it appears 
to me to be dubious enough." 

"Du leave the house! I am a ruined man. 
Those Humboldt savages never will forgive me for 
tangling their brains up with this inhuman letter. I 
have lost the respect of the Methodist Church, the 
board of aldermen " 

"Well, I haven't anything to say about that, be- 
cause I may have missed it a little in their cases, but 



MARK TWAIN 

I was too many for the Baldwin's Ranch people, 
General!" 

"Leave the house! Leave it forever and for- 
ever, too." 

I regarded that as a sort of covert intimation that 
my service could be dispensed with, and so I re- 
signed. I never will be a private secretary to a 
senator again. You can't please that kind of people. 
They don't know anything. They can't appreciate 
a party's efforts. 



A FASHION ITEM 1 

A!* General G 's reception the other night, the 
most fashionably dressed lady was Mrs. G. C. 
She wore a pink satin dress, plain in front but with 
a good deal of rake to it to the train, I mean; it 
was said to be two or three yards long. One could 
see it creeping along the floor some little time after 
the woman was gone. Mrs. C. wore also a white 
bodice, cut bias, with Pompadour sleeves, flounced 
with ruches ; low neck, with the inside handkerchief 
not visible, with white kid gloves. She had on 
a pearl necklace, which glinted lonely, high up the 
midst of that barren waste of neck and shoulders. 
Her hair was frizzled into a tangled chaparral, for- 
ward of her ears, aft it was drawn together, and 
compactly bound and plaited into a stump like a 
pony's tail, and furthermore was canted upward at a 
sharp angle, and ingeniously supported by a red 
velvet crupper, whose forward extremity was made 
fast with a half -hitch around a hairpin on the top of 
her head. Her whole top hamper was neat and 
becoming. She had a beautiful complexion when 
she- first came, but it faded out by degrees in an 
unaccountable way. However, it is not lost for 
good. I found the most of it on my shoulder after- 

1 Written about 1867. 
175 



MARK TWAIN 

ward. (I stood near the door when she squeezed 
out with the throng.) There were other ladies 
present, but I only took notes of one as a specimen. 
I would gladly enlarge upon the subject were I able 
to do it justice. 



RILEY NEWSPAPER CORRE- 
SPONDENT 

ONE of the best men in Washington or else- 
where is RILEY, correspondent of one of the 
great San Francisco dailies. 

Riley is full of humor, and has an unfailing vein 
of irony, which makes his conversation to the last 
degree entertaining (as long as the remarks are 
about somebody else). But notwithstanding the 
possession of these qualities, which should enable a 
man to write a happy and an appetizing letter, 
Riley's newspaper letters often display a more than 
earthly solemnity, and likewise an unimaginative 
devotion to petrified facts, which surprise and dis- 
tress all men who know him in his unofficial char- 
acter. He explains this curious thing by saying 
that his employers sent him to Washington to write 
facts, not fancy, and that several times he has come 
near losing his situation by inserting humorous re- 
marks which, not being looked for at headquarters, 
and consequently not understood, were thought to 
be dark and bloody speeches intended to convey 
signals and warnings to murderous secret societies, 
or something of that kind, and so were scratched 
out with a shiver and a prayer and cast into the 
stove. Riley says that sometimes he is so afflicted 

177 



MARK TWAIN 

with a yearning to write a sparkling and absorbingly 
readable letter that he simply cannot resist it, and 
so he goes to his den and revels in the delight of 
untrammeled scribbling; and then, with suffering 
such as only a mother can know, he destroys the 
pretty children of his fancy and reduces his letter 
to the required dismal accuracy. Having seen Riley 
do this very thing more than once, I know whereof I 
speak. Often I have laughed with him over a happy 
passage, and grieved to see him plow his pen through 
it. He would say, "I had to write that or die; 
and I've got to scratch it out or starve. They 
wouldn't stand it, you know." 

I think Riley is about the most entertaining com- 
pany I ever saw. We lodged together in many 
places in Washington during the winter of '67-8, 
moving comfortably from place to place, and attract- 
ing attention by paying our board a course which 
cannot fail to make a person conspicuous in Wash- 
ington. Riley would tell all about his trip to Cali- 
fornia in the early days, by way of the Isthmus and 
the San Juan River; and about his baking bread in 
San Francisco to gain a living, and setting up ten- 
pins, and practising law, and opening oysters, and 
delivering lectures, and teaching French, and tend- 
ing bar, and reporting for the newspapers, and keep- 
ing dancing-schools, and interpreting Chinese in the 
courts which latter was lucrative, and Riley was 
doing handsomely and laying up a little money when 
people began to find fault because his translations 
were too "free," a thing for which Riley considered 
he ought not to be held responsible, since he did not 



RILE Y CORRESPONDENT 

know a word of the Chinese tongue, and only adopted 
interpreting as a means of gaining an honest liveli- 
hood. Through the machinations of enemies he was 
removed from the position of official interpreter, and 
a man put in his place who was familiar with the 
Chinese language, but did not know any English. 
And Riley used to tell about publishing a newspaper 
up in what is Alaska now, but was only an iceberg 
then, with a population composed of bears, walruses, 
Indians, and other animals; and how the iceberg 
got adrift at last, and left all his paying subscribers 
behind, and as soon as the commonwealth floated 
out of the jurisdiction of Russia the people rose and 
threw off their allegiance and ran up the English 
flag, calculating to hook on and become an English 
colony as they drifted along down the British Pos- 
sessions; but a land breeze and a crooked current 
carried them by, and they ran up the Stars and 
Stripes and steered for California, missed the con- 
nection again and swore allegiance to Mexico, but 
it wasn't any use; the anchors came home every 
time, and away they went with the northeast trades 
drifting off sideways toward the Sandwich Islands, 
whereupon they ran up the Cannibal flag and had 
a grand human barbecue in honor of it, in which 
it was noticed that the better a man liked a friend 
the better he enjoyed him; and as soon as they got 
fairly within the tropics the weather got so fearfully 
hot that the iceberg began to melt, and it got so 
sloppy under foot that it was almost impossible for 
ladies to get about at all; and at last, just as they 
came in sight of the islands, the melancholy rem- 

179 



MARK TWAIN 

nant of the once majestic iceberg canted first to 
one side and then to the other, and then plunged 
under forever, carrying the national archives along 
with it and not only the archives and the populace, 
but some eligible town lots which had increased in 
value as fast as they diminished in size in the tropics, 
and which Riley could have sold at thirty cents a 
pound and made himself rich if he could have kept 
the province afloat ten hours longer and got her 
into port. 

Riley is very methodical, untiringly accommo- 
dating, never forgets anything that is to be attended 
to, is a good son, a stanch friend, and a permanent 
reliable enemy. He will put himself to any amount 
of trouble to oblige a body, and therefore always 
has his hands full of things to be done for the help- 
less and the shiftless. And he knows how to do 
nearly everything, too. He is a man whose native 
benevolence is a well-spring that never goes dry. 
He stands always ready to help whoever needs help, 
as far as he is able and not simply with his 
money, for that is a cheap and common charity, but 
with hand and brain, and fatigue of limb and sacrifice 
of time. This sort of men is rare. 

Riley has a ready wit, a quickness and aptness at 
selecting and applying quotations, and a countenance 
that is as solemn and as blank as the back side of a 
tombstone when he is delivering a particularly exas- 
perating joke. One night a negro woman was 
burned to death in a house next door to us, and 
Riley said that our landlady would be oppressively 
emotional at breakfast, because she generally made 

1 80 



RILEY CORRESPONDENT 

use of such opportunities as offered, being of a mor- 
bidly sentimental turn, and so we should find it best 
to let her talk along and say nothing back it was 
the only way to keep her tears out of the gravy. 
Riley said there never was a funeral in the neigh- 
borhood but that the gravy was watery for a 
week. 

And, sure enough, at breakfast the landlady was 
down in the very sloughs of woe entirely broken- 
hearted. Everything she lotoked at reminded her of 
that poor old negro woman, and so the buckwheat 
cakes made her sob, the coffee forced a groan, and 
when the beefsteak came on she fetched a wail that 
made our hair rise. Then she got to talking about 
deceased, and kept up a steady drizzle till both of 
us were soaked through and through. Presently 
she took a fresh breath and said, with a world 
of sobs: 

"Ah, to think of it, only to think of it! the 
poor old faithful creature. For she was so faithful. 
Would you believe it, she had been a servant in that 
selfsame house and that selfsame family for twenty- 
seven years come Christmas, and never a cross word 
and never a lick! And, oh, to think she should 
meet such a death at last! a-sitting over the red- 
hot stove at three o'clock in the morning and went 
to sleep and fell on it and was actually roasted! 
Not just frizzled up a bit, but literally roasted to a 
crisp! Poor faithful creature, how she was cooked! 
I am but a poor woman, but even if I have to 
scrimp to do it, I will put up a tombstone over that 
lone sufferer's grave and Mr. Riley if you would 

181 



MARK TWAIN 

have the goodness to think up a little epitaph to 
put on it which would sort of describe the awful way 
in which she met her " 

"Put it, 'Well done, good and faithful servant," 1 
said Riley, and never smiled. 



A FINE OLD MAN 

JOHN WAGNER, the oldest man in Buffalo 
J one hundred and four years old recently 
walked a mile and a half in two weeks. 

He is as cheerful and bright as any of these other 
old men that charge around so persistently and tire- 
somely in the newspapers, and in every way as 
remarkable. 

Last November he walked five blocks in a rain- 
storm, without any shelter but an umbrella, and cast 
his vote for Grant, remarking that he had voted for 
forty-seven presidents which was a lie. 

His "second crop" of rich brown hair arrived 
from New York yesterday, and he has a new set of 
teeth coming from Philadelphia. 

He is to be married next week to a girl one hun- 
dred and two years old, who still takes in washing. 

They have been engaged eighty years, but their 
parents persistently refused their consent until three 
days ago. 

John Wagner is two years older than the Rhode 
Island veteran, and yet has never tasted a drop 
of liquor in his life unless unless you count 
whisky. 



SCIENCE rs. LUCK 1 



A^ that time, in Kentucky (said the Hon. Mr. 
K - ), the law was very strict against what is 
termed "games of chance." About a dozen of the 
boys were detected playing "seven up" or "old 
sledge" for money, and the grand jury found a 
true bill against them. Jim Sturgis was retained to 
defend them when the case came up, of course. 
The more he studied over the matter, and looked 
into the evidence, the plainer it was that he must 
lose a case at last there was no getting around 
that painful fact. Those boys had certainly been 
betting money on a game of chance. Even public 
sympathy was roused in behalf of Sturgis. People 
said it was a pity to see ' him mar his successful 
career with a big prominent case like this, which 
must go against him. 

But after several restless nights an inspired idea 
flashed upon Sturgis, and he sprang out of bed de- 
lighted. He thought he saw his way through. The 
next day he whispered around a little among his 
clients and a few friends, and then when the case'i 
came up in court he acknowledged the seven-up and 
the betting, and, as his sole defense, had the as- 
tounding effrontery to put in the plea that old 

1 Written about 1867. 
184 



SCIENCE VS. LUCK 

sledge was not a game of chance! There was the 
broadest sort of a smile all over the faces of that 
sophisticated audience. The judge smiled with the 
rest. But Sturgis maintained a countenance whose 
earnestness was even severe. The opposite counsel 
tried to ridicule him out of his position, and did not 
succeed. The judge jested in a ponderous judicial 
way about the thing, but did not move him. The 
matter was becoming grave. The judge lost a little 
of his patience, and said the joke had gone far 
enough. Jim Sturgis said he knew of no joke in 
the matter his clients could not be punished for 
indulging in what some people chose to consider a 
game of chance until it was proven that it was a 
game of chance. Judge and counsel said that would 
be an easy matter, and forthwith called Deacons 
Job, Peters, Burke, and Johnson, and Dominies 
Wirt and Miggles, to testify; and they unanimously 
and with strong feeling put down the legal quibble 
of Sturgis by pronouncing that old sledge was a 
game of chance. 

"What do you call it now? 1 ' said the judge. 

"I call it a game of science!" retorted Sturgis; 
"and I'll prove it, too!" 

They saw his little game. 

He brought in a cloud of witnesses, and produced 
an overwhelming mass of testimony, to show that 
old sledge was not a game of chance but a game of 
science. 

Instead of being the simplest case in the world, it 
had somehow turned out to be an excessively knotty 
one. The judge scratched his head over it awhile, 

185 



MARK TWAIN 

and said there was no way of coming to a determina- 
tion, because just as many men could be brought 
into court who would testify on one side as could be 
found to testify on the other. But he said he was 
willing to do the fair thing by all parties, and would 
act upon any suggestion Mr. Sturgis would make 
for the solution of the difficulty. 

Mr. Sturgis was on his feet in a second. 

"Impanel a jury of six of each, Luck versus 
Science. Give them candles and a couple of decks 
of cards. Send them into the jury-room, and just 
abide by the result!" 

There was no disputing the fairness of the propo- 
sition. The four deacons and the two dominies 
were sworn in as the "chance" jurymen, and six 
inveterate old seven-up professors were chosen to 
represent the "science" side of the issue. They 
retired to the jury-room. 

In about two hours Deacon Peters sent into court 
to borrow three dollars from a friend. [Sensation.] 
In about two hours more Dominie Miggles sent into 
court to borrow a "stake" from a friend. [Sensa- 
tion.] During the next three or four hours the other 
dominie and the other deacons sent into court for 
small loans. And still the packed audience waited, 
for it was a prodigious occasion in Bull's Corners, 
and one in which every father of a family was neces- 
sarily interested. 

The rest of the story can be told briefly. About 
daylight the jury came in, and Deacon Job, the 
foreman, read the following 

1 86 



SCIENCE VS. LUCK 

VERDICT 

We, the jury in the case of the Commonwealth of 
Kentucky vs. John Wheeler et a/., have carefully 
considered the points of the case, and tested the 
merits of the several theories advanced, and do 
hereby unanimously decide that the game commonly 
known as old sledge or seven-up is eminently a game 
of science and not of chance. In demonstration 
whereof it is hereby and herein stated, iterated, 
reiterated, set forth, and made manifest that, during 
the entire night, the "chance" men never won a 
game or turned a jack, although both feats were 
common and frequent to the opposition ; and further- 
more, in support of this our verdict, we call attention 
to the significant fact that the "chance" men are 
all busted, and the "science" men have got the 
money. It is the deliberate opinion of this jury, 
that the "chance" theory concerning seven-up is a 
pernicious doctrine, and calculated to inflict untold 
suffering and pecuniary loss upon any community 
that takes stock in it. 

"That is the way that seven-up came to be set 
apart and particularized in the statute-books of 
Kentucky as being a game not of chance but of 
science, and therefore not punishable under the law," 

said Mr. K . "That verdict is of record, and 

holds good to this day." 



THE LATE BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 1 

["Never put off till to-morrow what you can do day after 
to-morrow just as well." B. P.] 

THIS party was one of those persons whom they 
call Philosophers. He was twins, being born 
simultaneously in two different houses in the city of 
Boston. These houses remain unto this day, and 
have signs upon them worded in accordance with 
the facts. The signs are considered well enough to 
have, though not necessary, because the inhabitants 
point out the two birthplaces to the stranger any- 
how, and sometimes as often as several times in the 
same day. The subject of this memoir was of a 
vicious disposition, and early prostituted his talents 
to the invention of maxims and aphorisms calculated 
to inflict suffering upon the rising generation of all 
subsequent ages. His simplest acts, also, were con- 
trived with a view to their being held up for the 
emulation of boys forever boys who might other- 
wise have been happy. It was in this spirit that 
he became the son of a soap-boiler, and probably for 
no other reason than that the efforts of all future 
boys who tried to be anything might be looked upon 
with suspicion unless they were the sons of soap- 
boilers. With a malevolence which is without paral- 

1 Written about 1870. 
188 



THE LATE BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

lei in history, he would work all day, and then sit 
up nights, and let on to be studying algebra by the 
light of a smoldering fire, so that all other boys 
might have to do that also, or else have Benjamin 
Franklin thrown up to them. Not satisfied with 
these proceedings, he had a fashion of living wholly 
on bread and water, and studying astronomy at 
meal-time a thing which has brought affliction to 
millions of boys since, whose fathers had read 
Franklin's pernicious biography. 

His maxims were full of animosity toward boys. 
Nowadays a boy cannot follow out a single natural 
instinct without tumbling over some of those ever- 
lasting aphorisms and hearing from Franklin on the 
spot. If he buys two cents' worth of peanuts, his 
father says, "Remember what Franklin has said, 
my son 'A groat a day's a penny a year'"; and 
the comfort is all gone out of those peanuts. If he 
wants to spin his top when he has done work, his 
father quotes, "Procrastination is the thief of time." 
If he does a virtuous action, he never gets anything 
for it, because "Virtue is its own reward." And 
that boy is hounded to death and robbed of his 
natural rest, because Franklin said once, in one of 
his inspired nights of malignity: 

Early to bed and early to rise 

Makes a man healthy and wealthy and wise. 

As if it were any object to a boy to be healthy 
and wealthy and wise on such terms. The sorrow 
that that maxim has cost me, through my parents, 
experimenting on me with it, tongue cannot tell. 

189 



MARK TWAIN 

The legitimate result is my present state of general 
debility, indigence, and mental aberration. My par- 
ents used to have me up before nine o'clock in 
the morning sometimes when I was a boy. If they 
had let me take my natural rest where would I have 
been now? Keeping store, no doubt, and respected 
by all. 

And what an adroit old adventurer the subject of 
this memoir was! In order to get a chance to fly 
his kite on Sunday he used to hang a key on the 
string and let on to be fishing for lightning. And a 
guileless public would go home chirping about the 
"wisdom" and the "genius" of the hoary Sabbath- 
breaker. If anybody caught him playing "mumble- 
peg" by himself, after the age of sixty, he would 
immediately appear to be ciphering out how the 
grass grew as if it was any of his business. My 
grandfather knew him well, and he says Franklin 
was always fixed always ready. If a body, during 
his old age, happened on him unexpectedly when he 
was catching flies, or making mud-pies, or sliding on 
a cellar door, he would immediately look wise, and 
rip out a maxim, and walk off with his nose in the 
air and his cap turned wrong side before, trying to 
appear absent-minded and eccentric. He was a 
hard lot. 

He invented a stove that would smoke your head 
off in four hours by the clock. One can see the 
almost devilish satisfaction he took in it by his giving 
it his name. 

He was always proud of telling how he entered 
Philadelphia for the first time, with nothing in the 

190 



THE LATE BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

world but two shillings in his pocket and four rolls 
of bread under his arm. But really, when you come 
to examine it critically, it was nothing. Anybody 
could have done it. 

To the subject of this memoir belongs the honor 
of recommending the army to go back to bows and 
arrows in place of bayonets and muskets. He ob- 
served, with his customary force, that the bayonet 
was very well under some circumstances, but that he 
doubted whether it could be used with accuracy at a 
long range. 

Benjamin Franklin did a great many notable things 
for his country, and made her young name to be 
honored in many lands as the mother of such a son. 
It is not the idea of this memoir to ignore that or 
cover it up. No; the simple idea of it is to snub 
those pretentious maxims of his, which he worked up 
with a great show of originality out of truisms that 
had become wearisome platitudes as early as the 
dispersion from Babel; and also to snub his stove, 
and his military inspirations, his unseemly endeavor 
to make himself conspicuous when he entered Phila- 
delphia, and his flying his kite and fooling away his 
time in all sorts of such ways when he ought to have 
been foraging for soap-fat, or constructing candles. 
I merely desired to do away with somewhat of the 
prevalent calamitous idea among heads of families 
that Franklin acquired his great genius by working 
for nothing, studying by moonlight, and getting up 
in the night instead of waiting till morning like a 
Christian; and that this program, rigidly inflicted, 
will make a Franklin of every father's fool. It is 

191 



MARK TWAIN 

time these gentlemen were finding out that these 
execrable eccentricities of instinct and conduct are 
only the evidences of genius, not the creators of it. 
I wish I had been the father of my parents long 
enough to make them comprehend this truth, and 
thus prepare them to let their son have an easier 
time of it. When I was a child I had to boil soap, 
notwithstanding my father was wealthy, and I had 
to get up early and study geometry at breakfast, and 
peddle my own poetry, and do everything just as 
Franklin did, in the solemn hope that I would be a 
Franklin some day. And here I am. 



MR. BLOKE'S ITEM 1 

OUR esteemed friend, Mr. John William Bloke, 
of Virginia City, walked into the office where 
we are sub-editor at a late hour last night, with an 
expression of profound and heartfelt suffering upon 
his countenance, and, sighing heavily, laid the fol- 
lowing item reverently upon the desk, and walked 
slowly out again. He paused a moment at the door, 
and seemed struggling to command his feelings 
sufficiently to enable him to speak, and then, nodding 
his head toward his manuscript, ejaculated in a 
broken voice, "Friend of mine oh! how sad!" and 
burst into tears. We were so moved at his distress 
that we did not think to call him back and en- 
deavor to comfort him until he was gone, and it was 
too late. The paper had already gone to press, but 
knowing that our friend would consider the pub- 
lication of this item important, and cherishing the 
hope that to print it would afford a melancholy 
satisfaction to his sorrowing heart, we stopped the 
press at once and inserted it in our columns: 

DISTRESSING ACCIDENT. Last evening, about six o'clock, as 
Mr. William Schuyler, an old and respectable citizen of South 
Park, was leaving his residence to go down-town, as has been his 
usual custom for many years with the exception only of a short 

1 Written about 1865. 
193 



MARK TWAIN 

interval in the spring of 1850, during which he was confined to 
his bed by injuries received in attempting to stop a runaway 
horse by thoughtlessly placing himself directly in its wake and 
throwing up his hands and shouting, which if he had done so 
even a single moment sooner, must inevitably have frightened 
the animal still more instead of checking its speed, although 
disastrous enough to himself as it was, and rendered more melan- 
choly and distressing by reason of the presence of his wife's 
mother, who was there and saw the sad occurrence notwith- 
standing it is at least likely, though not necessarily so, that she 
should be reconnoitering in another direction when incidents 
occur, not being vivacious and on the lookout, as a general thing, 
but even the reverse, as her own mother is said to have stated, 
who is no more, but died in the full hope of a glorious resurrec- 
tion, upwards of three years ago, aged eighty-six, being a Chris- 
tian woman and without guile, as it were, or property, in conse- 
quence of the fire of 1849, which destroyed every single thing 
she had in the world. But such is life. Let us all take warning 
by this solemn occurrence, and let us endeavor so to conduct 
ourselves that when we come to die we can do it. Let us place 
our hands upon our heart, and say with earnestness and sincerity 
that from this day forth we will beware of the intoxicating 
bowl. First Edition of the Californian. 

The head editor has been in here raising the mis- 
chief, and tearing his hair and kicking the furniture 
about, and abusing me like a pickpocket. He says 
that every time he leaves me in charge of the paper 
for half an hour I get imposed upon by the first 
infant or the first idiot that comes along. And he 
says that that distressing item of Mr. Bloke's is 
nothing but a lot of distressing bosh, and has no 
point to it, and no sense in it, and no information in 
it, and that there was no sort of necessity for stop- 
ping the press to publish it. 

Now all this comes of being good-hearted. If I 
had been as unaccommodating and unsympathetic 

194 



MR. BLOKE'S ITEM 

as some people, I would have told Mr. Bloke that I 
wouldn't receive his communication at such a late 
hour; but no, his snuffling distress touched my 
heart, and I jumped at the chance of doing some- 
thing to modify his misery. I never read his item 
to see whether there was anything wrong about it, 
but hastily wrote the few lines which preceded it, 
and sent it to the printers. And what has my kind- 
ness done for me? It has done nothing but bring 
down upon me a storm of abuse and ornamental 
blasphemy. 

Now I will read that item myself, and see if there is 
any foundation for all this fuss. And if there is, 
the author of it shall hear from me. 

I have read it, and I am bound to admit that it 
seems a little mixed at a first glance. However, I 
will peruse it once more. 

I have read it again, and it does really seem a 
good deal more mixed than ever. 

I have read it over five times, but if I can get at 
the meaning of it I wish I may get my just deserts. 
It won't bear analysis. There are things about it 
which I cannot understand at all. It don't say 
whatever became of William Schuyler. It just says 
enough about him to get one interested in his career, 
and then drops him. Who is William Schuyler, 
anyhow, and what part of South Park did he live in, 
and if he started down-town at six o'clock, did he 
ever get there, and if he did, did anything happen 



MARK TWAIN 

to him? Is he the individual that met with the 
"distressing accident"? Considering the elaborate 
circumstantiality of detail observable in the item, it 
seems to me that it ought to contain more informa- 
tion than it does. On the contrary, it is obscure 
and not only obscure, but utterly incomprehensible. 
Was the breaking of Mr. Schuyler's leg, fifteen 
years ago, the "distressing accident" that plunged 
Mr. Bloke into unspeakable grief, and caused him 
to come up here at dead of night and stop our press 
to acquaint the world with the circumstance? Or 
did the "distressing accident" consist in the de- 
struction of Schuyler's mother-in-law's property in 
early times? Or did it consist in the death of that 
person herself three years ago (albeit it does not 
appear that she died by accident) ? In a word, what 
did that "distressing accident" consist in? What 
did that driveling ass of a Schuyler stand in the 
wake of a runaway horse for, with his shouting and 
gesticulating, if he wanted to stop him? And how 
the mischief could he get run over by a horse that 
had already passed beyond him? And what are we 
to take "warning" by? And how is this extraordi- 
nary chapter of incomprehensibilities going to be a 
"lesson" to us? And, above all, what has the 
intoxicating "bowl" got to do with it, anyhow? It is 
not stated that Schuyler drank, or that his wife 
drank, or that his mother-in-law drank, or that the 
horse drank wherefore, then, the reference to the 
intoxicating bowl? It does seem to me that if Mr. 
Bloke had let the intoxicating bowl alone himself, 
he never would have got into so much trouble about 

196 



MR. BLOKE'S ITEM 

this exasperating imaginary accident. I have read 
this absurd item over and over again, with all its 
insinuating plausibility, until my head swims; but I 
can make neither head nor tail of it. There certainly 
seems to have been an accident of some kind or 
other, but it is impossible to determine what the 
nature of it was, or who was the sufferer by it. I 
do not like to do it, but I feel compelled to request 
that the next time anything happens to one of Mr. 
Bloke's friends, he will append such explanatory 
notes to his account of it as will enable me to find 
out what sort of an accident it was and whom it 
happened to. I had rather all his friends should die 
than that I should be driven to the verge of lunacy 
again in trying to cipher out the meaning of another 
such production as the above. 



A MEDIEVAL ROMANCE 1 

CHAPTER I 

THE SECRET REVEALED 

IT was night. Stillness reigned in the grand old 
feudal castle of Klugenstein. The year 1222 
was drawing to a close. Far away up in the tallest 
of the castle's towers a single light glimmered. A 
secret council was being held there. The stern old 
lord of Klugenstein sat in a chair of state meditat- 
ing. Presently he said, with a tender accent: "My 
daughter!*' 

A young man of noble presence, clad from head 
to heel in knightly mail, answered: "Speak, father!" 

"My daughter, the time is come for the reveal- 
ing of the mystery that hath puzzled all your young 
life. Know, then, that it had its birth in the matters 
which I shall now unfold. My brother Ulrich is the 
great Duke of Brandenburgh. Our father, on his 
deathbed, decreed that if no son were born to Ulrich 
the succession should pass to my house, provided a 
son were born to me. And further, in case no son 
were born to either, but only daughters, then the 
succession should pass to Ulrich's daughter if she 
proved stainless ; if she did not, my daughter should 

1 Written about 1868. 
198 



A MEDIEVAL ROMANCE 

succeed if she retained a blameless name. And so I 
and my old wife here prayed fervently for the good 
boon of a son, but the prayer was vain. You were 
born to us. I was in despair. I saw the mighty 
prize slipping from my grasp the splendid dream 
vanishing away ! And I had been so hopeful ! Five 
years had Ulrich lived in wedlock, and yet his wife 
had borne no heir of either sex. 

'"But hold,' I said, 'all is not lost.' A saving 
scheme had shot athwart my brain. You were born 
at midnight. Only the leech, the nurse, and six 
waiting-women knew your sex. I hanged them 
every one before an hour sped. Next morning all 
the barony went mad with rejoicing over the procla- 
mation that a son was born to Klugenstein an heir 
to mighty Brandenburgh ! And well the secret has 
been kept. Your mother's own sister nursed your 
infancy, and from that time forward we feared 
nothing. 

"When you were ten years old a daughter was 
born to Ulrich. We grieved, but hoped for good 
results from measles, or physicians, or other natural 
enemies of infancy, but were always disappointed. 
She lived, she throve Heaven's malison upon her! 
But it is nothing. We are safe. For, ha! ha! have 
we not a son? And is not our son the future duke? 
Our well-beloved Conrad, is it not so? for woman 
of eight-and-twenty years as you are, my child, none 
other name than that hath ever fallen to you I 

"Now it hath come to pass that age hath laid its 
hand upon my brother, and he waxes feeble. The 
cares of state do tax him sore, therefore he wills 

199 



MARK TWAIN 

that you shall come to him and be already duke in 
act, though not yet in name. Your servitors are 
ready you journey forth to-night. 

"Now listen well. Remember every word I say. 
There is a law as old as Germany, that if any woman 
sit for a single instant in the great ducal chair before 
she hath been absolutely crowned in presence of the 
people SHE SHALL DIE! So heed my words. Pre- 
tend humility. Pronounce your judgments from 
the Premier's chair, which stands at the foot of the 
throne. Do this until you are crowned and safe. 
It is not likely that your sex will ever be discovered, 
but still it is the part of wisdom to make all things 
as safe as may be in this treacherous earthly life." 

"Oh, my father! is it for this my life hath been a 
He ? Was it that I might cheat my unoffending cousin 
of her rights? Spare me, father, spare your child!" 

"What, hussy! Is this my reward for the august 
fortune my brain has wrought for thee? By the 
bones of my father, this puling sentiment of thine 
but ill accords with my humor. Betake thee to the 
duke instantly, and beware how thou meddlest with 
my purpose!" 

Let this suffice of the conversation. It is enough 
for us to know that the prayers, the entreaties, and 
the tears of the gentle-natured girl availed nothing. 
Neither they nor anything could move the stout old 
lord of Klugenstein. And so, at last, with a heavy 
heart, the daughter saw the castle gates close behind 
her, and found herself riding away in the darkness 
surrounded by a knightly array of armed vassals and 
a brave following of servants. 

200 



A MEDIEVAL ROMANCE 

The old baron sat silent for many minutes after 
his daughter's departure, and then he turned to his 
sad wife, and said: 

"Dame, our matters seem speeding fairly. It is 
full three months since I sent the shrewd and hand- 
some Count Detzin on his devilish mission to my 
brother's daughter Constance. If he fail we are not 
wholly safe, but if he do succeed no power can bar 
our girl from being duchess, e'en though ill fortune 
should decree she never should be duke!" 

"My heart is full of bodings; yet all may still be 
well." 

"Tush, woman! Leave the owls to croak. To 
bed with ye, and dream of Brandenburgh and 
grandeur!" 

CHAPTER II 

FESTIVITY AND TEARS 

Six days after the occurrences related in the 
above chapter, the brilliant capital of the Duchy of 
Brandenburgh was resplendent with military pagean- 
try and noisy with the rejoicings of loyal multitudes, 
for Conrad, the young heir to the crown, was come. 
The old duke's heart was full of happiness, for 
Conrad's handsome person and graceful bearing had 
won his love at once. The great halls of the palace 
were thronged with nobles, who welcomed Conrad 
bravely; and so bright and happy did all things 
seem that he felt his fears and sorrows passing away 
and giving place to a comforting contentment. 

But in a remote apartment of the palace a scene 

2OI 



MARK TWAIN 

of a different nature was transpiring. By a window 
stood the duke's only child, the Lady Constance. 
Her eyes were red and swollen and full of tears. 
She was alone. Presently she fell to weeping anew, 
and said aloud: 

"The villain Detzin is gone has fled the duke- 
dom! I could not believe it at first, but, alas! it is 
too true. And I loved him so. I dared to love him 
though I knew the duke, my father, would never 
let me wed him. I loved him but now I hate 
him! With all my soul I hate him! Oh, what is to 
become of me? I am lost, lost, lost! I shall go 
mad!" 

CHAPTER III 

THE PLOT THICKENS 

A PEW months drifted by. All men published 
the praises of the young Conrad's government, and 
extolled the wisdom of his -judgments, the merci- 
fulness of his sentences, and the modesty with which 
he bore himself in his great office. The old duke 
soon gave everything into his hands, and sat apart 
and listened with proud satisfaction while his heir 
delivered the decrees of the crown from the seat of 
the Premier. It seemed plain that one so loved and 
praised and honored of all men as Conrad was could 
not be otherwise than happy. But, strangely enough, 
he was not. For he saw with dismay that the 
Princess Constance had begun to love him! The 
love of the rest of the world was happy fortune for 
him, but this was freighted with danger! And he 

203 



A MEDIEVAL ROMANCE 

saw, moreover, that the delighted duke had discov- 
ered his daughter's passion likewise, and was already 
dreaming of a marriage. Every day somewhat of 
the deep sadness that had been in the princess's 
face faded away; every day hope and animation 
beamed brighter from her eye; and by and by even 
vagrant smiles visited the face that had been so 
troubled. 

Conrad was appalled. He bitterly cursed himself 
for having yielded to the instinct that had made him 
seek the companionship of one of his own sex when 
he was new and a stranger in the palace when he 
was sorrowful and yearned for a sympathy such as 
only women can give or feel. He now began to 
avoid his cousin. But this only made matters worse, 
for, naturally enough, the more he avoided her the 
more she cast herself in his way. He marveled at 
this at first, and next it startled him. The girl 
haunted him; she hunted him; she happened upon 
him at all times and in all places, in the night as 
well as in the day. She seemed singularly anxious. 
There was surely a mystery somewhere. 

This could not go on forever. All the world was 
talking about it. The duke was beginning to look 
perplexed. Poor Conrad was becoming a very ghost 
through dread and dire distress. One day as he was 
emerging from a private anteroom attached to the 
picture-gallery Constance confronted him, and seiz- 
ing both his hands in hers, exclaimed : 

"Oh, why do you avoid me? What have I done 
what have I said, to lose your kind opinion of me 
for surely I had it once? Conrad, do not despise 

203 



MARK TWAIN 

me, but pity a tortured heart? I cannot, cannot 
hold the words unspoken longer, lest they kill me 
I LOVB YOU, CONRAD! There, despise me if you 
must, but they would be uttered!" 

Conrad was speechless. Constance hesitated a 
moment, and then, misinterpreting his silence, a 
wild gladness flamed in her eyes, and she flung her 
arms about his neck and said : 

"You relent! you relent! You can love me you 
will love me! Oh, say you will, my own, my wor- 
shiped Conrad!" 

Conrad groaned aloud. A sickly pallor overspread 
his countenance, and he trembled like an aspen. 
Presently, in desperation, he thrust the poor girl 
from him, and cried : 

"You know not what you ask! It is forever and 
ever impossible!" And then he fled like a criminal, 
and left the princess stupefied with amazement. A 
minute afterward she was crying and sobbing there, 
and Conrad was crying and sobbing in his chamber. 
Both were in despair. Both saw ruin staring them 
in the face. 

By and by Constance rose slowly to her feet and 
moved away, saying: 

"To think that he was despising my love at the 
very moment that I thought it was melting his cruel 
heart! I hate him! He spurned me did this man 
he spurned me from him like a dog!" 



A MEDIEVAL ROMANCE 
CHAPTER IV 

THE AWFUL REVELATION 

TIME passed on. A settled sadness rested once 
more upon the countenance of the good duke's 
daughter. She and Conrad were seen together no 
more now. The duke grieved at this. But as the 
weeks wore away Conrad's color came back to his 
cheeks, and his old-time vivacity to his eye, and he 
administered the government with a clear and 
steadily ripening wisdom. 

Presently a strange whisper began to be heard 
about the palace. It grew louder; it spread farther. 
The gossips of the city got hold of it. It swept the 
dukedom. And this is what the whisper said: 

"The Lady Constance hath given birth to a 
child!" 

When the lord of Klugenstein heard it he swung 
his plumed helmet thrice around his head and 
shouted : 

"Long live Duke Conrad! for lo, his crown is 
sure from this day forward! Detzin has done his 
errand well, and the good scoundrel shall be re- 
warded!" 

And he spread the tidings far and wide, and for 
eight-and-forty hours no soul in all the barony but 
did dance and sing, carouse and illuminate, to cele- 
brate the great event, and all proud and happy at 
old Klugenstein's expense. 



MARK TWAIN 
CHAPTER V 

THE FRIGHTFUL CATASTROPHE 

THE trial was at hand. All the great lords and 
barons of Brandenburgh were assembled in the 
Hall of Justice in the ducal palace. No space was 
left unoccupied where there was room for a spec- 
tator to stand or sit. Conrad, clad in purple and 
ermine, sat in the Premier's chair, and on either side 
sat the great judges of the realm. The old duke 
had sternly commanded that the trial of his daughter 
should proceed without favor, and then had taken to 
his bed broken-hearted. His days were numbered. 
Poor Conrad had begged, as for his very life, that 
he might be spared the misery of sitting in judgment 
upon his cousin's crime, but it did not avail. 

The saddest heart in all that great assemblage was 
in Conrad's breast. 

The gladdest was in his father's, for, unknown to 
his daughter "Conrad," the old Baron Klugenstein 
was come, and was among the crowd of nobles 
triumphant in the swelling fortunes of his house. 

After the heralds had made due proclamation 
and the other preliminaries had followed, the vener- 
able Lord Chief Justice said: "Prisoner, stand 
forth!" 

The unhappy princess rose, and stood unveiled 
before the vast multitude. The Lord Chief Justice 
continued : 

"Most noble lady, before the great judges of this 
realm it hath been charged and proven that out of 

206 



A MEDIEVAL ROMANCE 

holy wedlock your Grace hath given birth unto a 
child, and by our ancient law the penalty is death 
excepting in one sole contingency, whereof his Grace 
the acting duke, our good Lord Conrad, will adver- 
tise you in his solemn sentence now; wherefore give 
.heed." 

Conrad stretched forth his reluctant scepter, and 
in the selfsame moment the womanly heart beneath 
his robe yearned pityingly toward the doomed pris- 
oner, and the tears came into his eyes. He opened his 
lips to speak, but the Lord Chief Justice said quickly : 

"Not there, your Grace, not there! It is not 
lawful to pronounce judgment upon any of the ducal 
line SAVE FROM THE DUCAL THRONE!" 

A shudder went to the heart of poor Conrad, and 
a tremor shook the iron frame of his old father like- 
wise. CONRAD HAD NOT BEEN CROWNED dared he 
profane the throne? He hesitated and turned pale 
with fear. But it must be done. Wondering eyes 
were already upon him. They would be suspicious 
eyes if he hesitated longer. He ascended the throne. 
Presently he stretched forth the scepter again, and 
said: 

"Prisoner, in the name of our sovereign Lord 
Ulrich, Duke of Brandenburgh, I proceed to the 
solemn duty that hath devolved upon me. Give 
heed to my words. By the ancient law of the land, 
except you produce the partner of your guilt and 
deliver him up to the executioner you must surely 
die. Embrace this opportunity save yourself while 
yet you may. Name the father of your child!" 

A solemn hush fell upon the great court a silence 

207 



MARK TWAIN 

so profound that men could hear their own hearts 
beat. Then the princess slowly turned, with eyes 
gleaming with hate, and, pointing her finger straight 
at Conrad, said: 

"Thou art the man!" 

An appalling conviction of his helpless, hopeless 
peril struck a chill to Conrad's heart like the chill of 
death itself. What power on earth could save him! 
To disprove the charge he must reveal that he was a 
woman, and for an uncrowned woman to sit in the 
ducal chair was death! At one and the same mo- 
ment he and his grim old father swooned and fell to 
the ground. 

The remainder of this thrilling and eventful story 
will NOT be found in this or any other publication, 
either now or at any future time. 

The truth is, I have got my hero (or heroine) into 
such a particularly close place that I do not see how 
I am ever going to get him (or her) out of it again, 
and therefore I will wash my hands of the whole 
business, and leave that person to get out the best 
way that offers or else stay there. I thought it was 
going to be easy enough to straighten out that little 
difficulty, but it looks different now. 



PETITION CONCERNING COPYRIGHT 

TO THB HONORABLE THE SENATE AND HOUSE OP 
REPRESENTATIVES IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED! 

Whereas, The Constitution guarantees equal rights 
to all, backed by the Declaration of Independence ; and 

208 



CONCERNING COPYRIGHT 

Whereas, Under our laws, the right of property in 
real estate is perpetual ; and 

Whereas, Under our laws, the right of property 
in the literary result of a citizen's intellectual labor 
is restricted to forty-two years ; and 

Whereas, Forty-two years seems an exceedingly 
just and righteous term, and a sufficiently long one 
for the retention of property ; 

Therefore, Your petitioner, having the good of his 
country solely at heart, humbly prays that "equal 
rights" and fair and equal treatment may be meted 
out to all citizens, by the restriction of rights in all 
property, real estate included, to the beneficent term 
of forty-two years. Then shall all men bless your 
honorable body and be happy. And for this will 
your petitioner ever pray. 

MARK TWAIN. 

A PARAGRAPH NOT ADDED TO THE PETITION 

The charming absurdity of restricting property- 
rights in books to forty-two years sticks prominently 
out in the fact that hardly any man's books ever 
live forty-two years, or even the half of it; and so, 
for the sake of getting a shabby advantage of the 
heirs of about one Scott or Burns or Milton in a 
hundred years, the lawmakers of the "Great" 
Republic are content to leave that poor little pilfer- 
ing edict upon the statute-books. It is like an 
emperor lying in wait to rob a phenix's nest, and 
waiting the necessary century to get the chance. 



AFTER-DINNER SPEECH 

[AT A FOURTH OF JULY GATHERING, IN LONDON, OF 
AMERICANS] 

MR.. CHAIRMAN AND LADIES AND GEN- 
TLEMEN: I thank you for the compliment 
which has just been tendered me, and to show my 
appreciation of it I will not afflict you with many 
words. It is pleasant to celebrate in this peaceful 
way, upon this old mother soil, the anniversary of 
an experiment which was born of war with this same 
land so long ago, and wrought out to a successful 
issue by the devotion of our ancestors. It has 
taken nearly a hundred years to bring the English 
and Americans into kindly and mutually appreci- 
ative relations, but I believe it has been accom- 
plished at last. It was a great step when the two 
last misunderstandings were settled by arbitration 
instead of cannon. It is another great step when 
England adopts our sewing-machines without claim- 
ing the invention as usual. It was another when 
they imported one of our sleeping-cars the other day. 
And it wanned my heart more than I can tell, 

2IO 



AFTER-DINNER SPEECH 

yesterday, when I witnessed the spectacle of an 
Englishman ordering an American sherry cobbler 
of his own free will and accord and not only that 
but with a great brain and a level head reminding 
the barkeeper not to forget the strawberries. With 
a common origin, a common language, a common 
literature, a common religion and common drinks, 
what is longer needful to the cementing of the two 
nations together in a permanent bond of brother- 
hood? 

This is an age of progress, and ours is a progres- 
sive land. A great and glorious land, too a land 
which has developed a Washington, a Franklin, a 
William M. Tweed, a Longfellow, a Motley, a Jay 
Gould, a Samuel C. Pomeroy, a recent Congress 
which has never had its equal (in some respects), 
and a United States Army which conquered sixty 
Indians in eight months by tiring them out which 
is much better than uncivilized slaughter, God 
knows. We have a criminal jury system which is 
superior to any in the world ; and its efficiency is only 
marred by the difficulty of finding twelve men every 
day who don't know anything and can't read. And 
I may observe that we have an insanity plea 
that would have saved Cain. I think I can say, 
and say with pride, that we have some legisla- 
tures that bring higher prices than any in the 
world. 

I refer with effusion to our railway system, which 
consents to let us live, though it might do the op- 
posite, being our owners. It only destroyed three 
thousand and seventy lives last year by collisions, 

211 



MARK TWAIN 

and twenty-seven thousand two hundred and sixty 
by running over heedless and unnecessary people at 
crossings. The companies seriously regretted the 
killing of these thirty thousand people, and went so 
far as to pay for some of them voluntarily, of 
course, for the meanest of us would not claim that 
we possess a court treacherous enough to enforce a 
law against a railway company. But, thank Heaven, 
the railway companies are generally disposed to do 
the right and kindly thing without compulsion. I 
know of an instance which greatly touched me at 
the time. After an accident the company sent 
home the remains of a dear distant old relative of 
mine in a basket, with the remark, "Please state 
what figure you hold him at and return the 
basket." Now there couldn't be anything friendlier 
than that. 

But I must not stand here and brag all night. 
However, you won't mind a body bragging a little 
about his country on the fourth of July. It is a 
fair and legitimate time to fly the eagle. I will say 
only one more word of brag and a hopeful one. It 
is this. We have a form of government which gives 
each man a fair chance and no favor. With us no 
individual is born with a right to look down upon 
his neighbor and hold him in contempt. Let such 
of us as are not dukes find our consolation in that. 
And we may find hope for the future in the fact 
that as unhappy as is the condition of our po- 
litical morality to-day, England has risen up out 
of a far fouler since the days when Charles I. 
ennobled courtesans and all political place was a 

312 



AFTER-DINNER SPEECH 

matter of bargain and sale. There is hope for us 
yet. 1 

1 At least the above is the speech which I was going to make, but our 
minister, General Schenck, presided, and after the blessing, got up 
and made a great long inconceivably dull harangue, and wound up 
by saying that inasmuch as speech-making did not seem to exhilarate 
the guests much, all further oratory would be dispensed with during 
the evening, and we could just sit and talk privately to our elbow- 
neighbors and have a good sociable time. It is known that in 
consequence of that remark forty-four perfected speeches died in 
the womb. The depression, the gloom, the solemnity that reigned 
over the banquet from that time forth will be a lasting memory 
with many that were there. Bv that one thoughtless remark Gen- 
eral Schenck lost forty-four of the best friends he had in England. 
More than one said that night, "And this is the sort of person that 
i& sent to represent us in a great sister empire 1" 



LIONIZING MURDERERS 

I HAD heard so much about the celebrated fortune- 
teller Madame , that I went to see her 

yesterday. She has a dark complexion naturally, 
and this effect is heightened by artificial aids which 
cost her nothing. She wears curls very black ones, 
and I had an impression that she gave their native 
attractiveness a lift with rancid butter. She wears 
a reddish check handkerchief, cast loosely around 
her neck, and it was plain that her other one is 
slow getting back from the wash. I presume she 
takes snuff. At any rate, something resembling it 
had lodged among the hairs sprouting from her 
upper lip. I know she likes garlic I knew that as 
soon as she sighed. She looked at me searchingly 
for nearly a minute, with her black eyes, and then 
said: 

" It is enough. Come !" 

She started down a very dark and dismal corridor 
I stepping close after her. Presently she stopped, 
and said that, as the way was so crooked and dark, 
perhaps she had better get a light. But it seemed 
ungallant to allow a woman to put herself to so 
much trouble for me, and so I said: 

" It is not worth while, madam. If you will heave 
another sigh, I think I can follow it." 

214 



LIONIZING MURDERERS 

So we got along all right. Arrived at her official 
and mysterious den, she asked me to tell her the 
date of my birth, the exact hour of that occurrence, 
and the color of my grandmother's hair. I answered 
as accurately as I could. Then she said: 

"Young man, summon your fortitude do not 
tremble. I am about to reveal the past." 

"Information concerning the future would be, in a 
general way, more " 

"Silence! You have had much trouble, some joy, 
some good fortune, some bad. Your great grand- 
father was hanged." 

"That is a 1 " 

"Silence! Hanged sir. But it was not his fault. 
He could not help it." 

"I am glad you do him justice." 

"Ah grieve, rather, that the jury did. He was 
hanged. His star crosses yours in the fourth divi- 
sion, fifth sphere. Consequently you will be hanged 
also." 

"In view of this cheerful " 

"I must have silence. Yours was not, in the 
beginning, a criminal nature, but circumstances 
changed it. At the age of nine you stole sugar. 
At the age of fifteen you stole money. At twenty 
you stole horses. At twenty-five you committed 
arson. At thirty, hardened in crime, you became 
an editor. You are now a public lecturer. Worse 
things are in store for you. You will be sent to 
Congress. Next, to the penitentiary. Finally, hap- 
piness will come again all will be well you will be 
hanged." 

215 



MARK TWAIN 

I was now in tears. It seemed hard enough to 
go to Congress ; but to be hanged this was too sad, 
too dreadful. The woman seemed surprised at my 
grief. I told her the thoughts that were in my 
mind. Then she comforted me. 

"Why, man," 1 she said, "hold up your head 
you have nothing to grieve about. Listen. You 

1 In this paragraph the fortune-teller details the exact history of 
the Pike-Brown assassination case in New Hampshire, from the 
succoring and savin? of the stranger Pike by the Browns, to the 
subsequent hanging and coffining of that treacherous miscreant. 
She adds nothing, invents nothing, exaggerates nothing (see any 
New England paper for November, 1869). This Pike-Brown case 
is selected merely as a type, to illustrate a custom that prevails, not 
in New Hampshire alone, but in every state in the Union I mean 
the sentimental custom of visiting, petting, glorifying, and snuffling 
over murderers like this Pike, from the day they enter the jail 
tinder sentence of death until they swing from the gallows. The 
following extract from the Temple Bar (1866) reveals the fact that 
this custom is not confined to the United States: "On December 31, 
1841, a man named John Johnes, a shoemaker, murdered his sweet- 
heart, Mary Hallam, the daughter of a respectable laborer, at 
Mansfield, in the county of Nottingham. He was executed on 
March 23, 1842. He was a man of unsteady habits, and gave way 
to violent fits of passion. The girl declined his addresses, and he 
said if he did not have her no one else should. After he had inflicted 
the first wound, which was not immediately fatal, she begged for 
her life, but seeing him resolved, asked for time to pray. He said 
that he would pray for both, and completed the crime. The wounds 
were inflicted by a shoemaker's knife, and her throat was cut bar- 
barously. After this he dropped on his knees some time, and 
prayed God to have mercy on two unfortunate lovers. He made no 
attempt to escape, and confessed the crime. After his imprison- 
ment he behaved in a most decorous manner; he won upon the good 
opinion of the jail chaplain, and he was visited by the Bishop of 
Lincoln. It does not appear that he expressed any contrition for 
the crime, but seemed to pass away with triumphant certainty that 
he was going to rejoin his victim in heaven. He was visited by some 
pious and benevolent ladies of Nottingham, some of whom declared he 
was a child of God, if ever there was one. One of the ladies sent him 
white camellia to wear at his execution." 

216 



LIONIZING MURDERERS 

will live in New Hampshire. In your sharp need 
and distress the Brown family will succor you 
such of them as Pike the assassin left alive. They 
will be benefactors to you. When you shall have 
grown fat upon their bounty, and are grateful and 
happy, you will desire to make some modest return 
for these things, and so you will go to the house 
some night and brain the whole family with an ax. 
You will rob the dead bodies of your benefactors, 
and disburse your gains in riotous living among the 
rowdies and courtesans of Boston. Then you will 
be arrested, tried, condemned to be hanged, thrown 
into prison. Now is your happy day. You will be 
converted you will be converted just as soon as 
every effort to compass pardon, commutation, or 
reprieve has failed and then! Why, then, every 
morning and every afternoon, the best and purest 
young ladies of the village will assemble in your cell 
and sing hymns. This will show that assassination 
is respectable. Then you will write a touching 
letter, in which you will forgive all those recent 
Browns. This will excite the public admiration. 
No public can withstand magnanimity. Next, they 
will take you to the scaffold, with great 6clat, at the 
head of an imposing procession composed of clergy- 
men, officials, citizens generally, and young ladies 
walking pensively two and two, and bearing bouquets 
and immortelles. You will mount the scaffold, and 
while the great concourse stand uncovered in your 
presence, you will read your sappy little speech which 
the minister has written for you. And then, in the 
midst of a grand and impressive silence, they will 

217 



MARK TWAIN 

swing you into per Paradise, my son. There will 
not be a dry eye on the ground. You will be s 
hero! Not a rough there but will envy you. Not 
a rough there but will resolve to emulate you. And 
next, a great procession will follow you to the tomt 
will weep over your remains the young ladies 
will sing again the hymns made dear by sweet asso- 
ciations connected with the jail, and, as a last tribute 
of affection, respect, and appreciation of your manj 
sterling qualities, they will walk two and two around 
your bier, and strew wreaths of flowers on it. And 
lo! you are canonized. Think of it, son ingrate, 
assassin, robber of the dead, drunken brawler amon^ 
thieves and harlots in the slums of Boston one 
month, and the pet of the pure and innocent daugh- 
ters of the land the next! A bloody and hateful 
devil a bewept, bewailed, and sainted martyr all 
in a month f Fool ! so noble a fortune, and yet you 
sit here grieving!" 

"No, madam," I said, "you do me wrong, you 
do, indeed. I am perfectly satisfied. I did not 
know before that my great-grandfather was hanged, 
but it is of no consequence. He has probably ceased 
to bother about it by this time and I have not 
commenced yet. I confess, madam, that I do 
something in the way of editing and lecturing, but 
the other crimes you mention have escaped my 
memory. Yet I must have committed them you 
would not deceive a stranger. But let the past be 
as it was, and let the future be as it may these 
are nothing. I have only cared for one thing. I 
have always felt that I should be hanged some day, 

218 



LIONIZING MURDERERS 

and somehow the thought has annoyed me consider- 
ably; but if you can only assure me that I shall be 
hanged in New Hampshire 

"Not a shadow of a doubt!" 

"Bless you, my benefactress! excuse this em- 
brace you have removed a great load from my 
breast. To be hanged in New Hampshire is happi- 
ness it leaves an honored name behind a man, 
and introduces him at once into the best New 
Hampshire society in the other world." 

I then took leave of the fortune-teller. But, 
seriously, is it well to glorify a murderous villain 
on the scaffold, as Pike was glorified in New Hamp- 
shire? Is it well to turn the penalty for a bloody 
crime into a reward ? Is it just to do it ? Is it safe ? 



A NEW CRIME 

LEGISLATION NEEDED 

THIS country, during the last thirty or forty 
years, has produced some of the most remark- 
able cases of insanity of which there is any mention 
in history. For instance, there was the Baldwin 
case, in Ohio, twenty-two years ago. Baldwin, from 
his boyhood up, had been of a vindictive, malignant, 
quarrelsome nature. He put a boy's eye out once, 
and never was heard upon any occasion to utter a 
regret for it. He did many such things. But at 
last he did something that was serious. He called 
at a house just after dark one evening, knocked, and 
when the occupant came to the door, shot him 
dead, and then tried to escape, but was captured. 
Two days before, he had wantonly insulted a help- 
less cripple, and the man he afterward took swift 
vengeance upon with an assassin bullet had knocked 
him down. Such was the Baldwin case. The trial 
was long and exciting; the community was fearfully 
wrought up. Men said this spiteful, bad-hearted 
villain had caused grief enough in his time, and now 
he should satisfy the law. But they were mistaken; 
Baldwin was insane when he did the deed they 
had not thought of that. By the argument of 
counsel it was shown that at half past ten in the 

220 



A NEW CRIME 

morning on the day of the murder, Baldwin became 
insane, and remained so for eleven hours and a half 
exactly. This just covered the case comfortably, 
and he was acquitted. Thus, if an unthinking and 
excited community had been listened to instead of 
the arguments of counsel, a poor crazy creature 
would have been held to a fearful responsibility for 
a mere freak of madness. Baldwin went clear, and 
although his relatives and friends were naturally in- 
censed against the community for their injurious 
suspicions and remarks, they said let it go for this 
time, and did not prosecute. The Baldwins were 
very wealthy. This same Baldwin had momentary 
fits of insanity twice afterward, and on both occa- 
sions killed people he had grudges against. And on 
both these occasions the circumstances of the killing 
were so aggravated, and the murders so seemingly 
heartless and treacherous, that if Baldwin had not 
been insane he would have been hanged without the 
shadow of a doubt. As it was, it required all his 
political and family influence to get him clear in one 
of the cases, and cost him not less than ten thousand 
dollars to get clear in the other. One of these men 
he had notoriously been threatening to kill for twelve 
years. The poor creature happened, by the merest 
piece of ill fortune, to come along a dark alley at 
the very moment that Baldwin's insanity came upon 
him, and so he was shot in the back with a gun 
loaded with slugs. 

Take the case of Lynch Hackett, of Pennsylvania. 
Twice, in public, he attacked a German butcher by 
the name of Bemis Feldner, with a cane, and both 

221 



MARK TWAIN 

times Feldner whipped him with his fists. Hackett 
was a vain, wealthy, violent gentleman, who held 
his blood and family in high esteem, and believed 
that a reverent respect was due to his great riches. 
He brooded over the shame of his chastisement for 
two weeks, and then, in a momentary fit of insanity, 
armed himself to the teeth, rode into town, waited a 
couple of hours until he saw Feldner coming down 
the street with his wife on his arm, and then, as the 
couple passed the doorway in which he had partially 
concealed himself, he drove a knife into Feldner's 
neck, killing him instantly. The widow caught the 
limp form and eased it to the earth. Both were 
drenched with blood. Hackett jocosely remarked 
to her that as a professional butcher's recent wife 
she could appreciate the artistic neatness of the job 
that left her in condition to marry again, in case she 
wanted to. This remark, and another which he 
made to a friend, that his position in society made 
the killing of an obscure citizen simply an "eccentric- 
ity" instead of a crime, were shown to be evidences 
of insanity, and so Hackett escaped punishment. 
The jury were hardly inclined to accept these as 
proofs at first, inasmuch as the prisoner had never 
been insane before the murder, and under the tran- 
quilizing effect of the butchering had immediately 
regained hits, right mind; but when the defense came 
to show that a third cousin of Hackett's wife's step- 
father was insane, and not only insane, but had a 
nose the very counterpart of Hackett's, it was plain 
that insanity was hereditary in the family, and 
Hackett had come by it by legitimate inheritance. 

222 



A NEW CRIME 

Of course the jury then acquitted him. But it was 
a merciful providence that Mrs. H.'s people had been 
afflicted as shown, else Hackett would certainly have 
been hanged. 

However, it is not possible to recount all the mar- 
velous cases of insanity that have come under the 
public notice in the last thirty or forty years. There 
was the Durgin case in New Jersey three years ago. 
The servant girl, Bridget Durgin, at dead of night, 
invaded her mistress's bedroom and carved the lady 
literally to pieces with a knife. Then she dragged 
the body to the middle of the floor, and beat and 
banged it with chairs and such things. Next she 
opened the feather beds, and strewed the contents 
around, saturated everything with kerosene, and set 
fire to the general wreck. She now took up the 
young child of the murdered woman in her blood- 
smeared hands and walked off, through the snow, 
with no shoes on, to a neighbor's house a quarter 
of a mile off, and told a string of wild, incoherent 
stories about some men coming and setting fire to 
the house; and then she cried piteously, and with- 
out seeming to think there was anything suggestive 
about the blood upon her hands, her clothing, and 
the baby, volunteered the remark that she was 
afraid those men had murdered her mistress ! After- 
ward, by her own confession and other testimony, it 
was proved that the mistress had always been kind 
to the girl, consequently there was no revenge in the 
murder; and it was also shown that the girl took noth- 
ing away from the burning house, not even her own 
shoes, and consequently robbery was not the motive. 

223 



MARK TWAIN 

Now, the reader says, "Here comes that same old 
plea of insanity again." But the reader has deceived 
himself this time. No such plea was offered in her 
defense. The judge sentenced her, nobody perse- 
cuted the governor with petitions for her pardon, and 
she was promptly hanged. 

There was that youth in Pennsylvania, whose 
curious confession was published some years ago. 
It was simply a conglomeration of incoherent drivel 
from beginning to end, and so was his lengthy 
speech on the scaffold afterward. For a whole year 
he was haunted with a desire to disfigure a certain 
young woman, so that no one would marry her. 
He did not love her himself, and did not want to 
marry her, but he did not want anybody else to do 
it. He would not go anywhere with her, and yet 
was opposed to anybody else's escorting her. Upon 
one occasion he declined to go to a wedding with 
her, and when she got other company, lay in wait 
for the couple by the road, intending to make them 
go back or loll the escort. After spending sleepless 
nights over his ruling desire for a full year, he at 
last attempted its execution that is, attempted to 
disfigure the young woman. It was a success. It 
was permanent. In trying to shoot her cheek (as 
she sat at the supper-table with her parents and 
brothers and sisters) in such a manner as to mar its 
comeliness, one of his bullets wandered a little out 
of the course, and she dropped dead. To the very 
last moment of his life he bewailed the ill luck that 
made her move her face just at the critical moment. 
And so he died, apparently about half persuaded that 

224 



A NEW CRIME 

somehow it was chiefly her own fault that she got 
killed. This idiot was hanged. The plea of insanity 
was not offered. 

Insanity certainly is on the increase in the world, 
and crime is dying out. There are no longer any 
murders none worth mentioning, at any rate. 
Formerly, if you killed a man, it was possible that 
you were insane but now, if you, having friends 
and money, kill a man, it is evidence that you are a 
lunatic. In these days, too, if a person of good 
family and high social standing steals anything, 
they call it kleptomania, and send him to the 
lunatic asylum. If a person of high standing 
squanders his fortune in dissipation, and closes 
his career with strychnine or a bullet, "Tempo- 
rary Aberration" is what was the trouble with 
him. 

Is not this insanity plea becoming rather common ? 
Is it not so common that the reader confidently ex- 
pects to see it offered in every criminal case that 
comes before the courts? And is it not so cheap, 
and so common, and often so trivial, that the reader 
smiles in derision when the newspaper mentions it? 
And is it not curious to note how very often it wins 
acquittal for the prisoner? Of late years it does not 
seem possible for a man to so conduct himself, 
before killing another man, as not to be manifestly 
insane. If he talks about the stars, he is insane. If 
he appears nervous and uneasy an hour before the 
killing, he is insane. If he weeps over a great grief, 
his friends shake their heads, and fear that he is 
"not right." If, an hour after the murder, he 

225 



MARK TWAIN 

seems ill at ease, preoccupied, and excited, he is 
unquestionably insane. 

Really, what we want now, is not laws against 
crime, but a law against insanity. There is where 
*ihe true evil lies. 



A CURIOUS DREAM 1 

CONTAINING A MORAL 

NIGHT before last I had a singular dream. I 
seemed to be sitting on a doorstep (in no par- 
ticular city perhaps) ruminating, and the time of 
night appeared to be about twelve or one o'clock. 
The weather was balmy and delicious. There was 
no human sound in the air, not even a footstep. 
There was no sound of any kind to emphasize the 
dead stillness, except the occasional hollow barking 
of a dog in the distance and the fainter answer of a 
further dog. Presently up the street I heard a bony 
clack-clacking, and guessed it was the castanets of 
a serenading party. In a minute more a tall skele- 
ton, hooded, and half clad in a tattered and moldy 
shroud, whose shreds were flapping about the ribby 
latticework of its person, swung by me with a stately 
stride and disappeared in the gray gloom of the 
starlight. It had a broken and worm-eaten coffin on 
its shoulder and a bundle of something in its hand. 
I knew what the clack-clacking was then; it was 
this party's joints working together, and his elbows 
knocking against his sides as he walked. I may say 
I was surprised. Before I could collect my thoughts 
and enter upon any speculations as to what this ap- 

1 Written about 1870. 
227 



MARK TWAIN 

parition might portend, I heard another one coming 
for I recognized his clack-clack. He had two- 
thirds of a coffin on his shoulder, and some foot 
and head boards under his arm. I mightily wanted 
to peer under his hood and speak to him, but when 
he turned and smiled upon me with his cavernous 
sockets and his projecting grin as he went by, I 
thought I would not detain him. He was hardly 
gone when I heard the clacking again, and another 
one issued from the shadowy half-light. This one 
was bending under a heavy gravestone, and dragging 
a shabby coffin after him by a string. When he got 
to me he gave me a steady look for a moment or two, 
and then rounded to and backed up to me, saying : 

"Ease this down for a fellow, will you?" 

I eased the gravestone down till it rested on the 
ground, and in doing so noticed that it bore the 
name of "John Baxter Copmanhurst," with "May, 
1839," as the date of his death. Deceased sat 
wearily down by me, and wiped his os frontis with 
his major maxillary chiefly from former habit I 
judged, for I could not see that he brought away 
any perspiration. 

"It is too bad, too bad," said he, drawing the 
remnant of the shroud about him and leaning his 
jaw pensively on his hand. Then he put his left 
foot up on his knee and fell to scratching his ankle- 
bone absently with a rusty nail which he got out of 
his coffin. 

"What is too bad, friend?" 

"Oh, everything, everything. I almost wish I 
never had died." 

228 



A CURIOUS DREAM 

"You surprise me. Why do you say this? Has 
anything gone wrong? What is the matter?" 

"Matter! Look at this shroud rags. Look at 
this gravestone, all battered up. Look at that dis- 
graceful old coffin. All a man's property going to 
ruin and destruction before his eyes, and ask him if 
anything is wrong? Fire and brimstone!" 

"Calm yourself, calm yourself," I said. "It is 
too bad it is certainly too bad, but then I had not 
supposed that you would much mind such matters, 
situated as you are." 

"Well, my dear sir, I do mind them. My pride 
is hurt, and my comfort is impaired destroyed, I 
might say. I will state my case I will put it to 
you in such a way that you can comprehend it, if 
you will let me," said the poor skeleton, tilting the 
hood of his shroud back, as if he were clearing for 
action, and thus unconsciously giving himself a 
jaunty and festive air very much at variance with 
the grave character of his position in life so to 
speak and in prominent contrast with his distress- 
ful mood. 

"Proceed," said I. 

"I reside in the shameful old graveyard a block 
or two above you here, in this street there, now, 
I just expected that cartilage would let go! third 
rib from the bottom, friend, hitch the end of it to 
my spine with a string, if you have got such a thing 
about you, though a bit of silver wire is a deal 
pleasanter, and more durable and becoming, if one 
keeps it polished to think of shredding out and 
going to pieces in this way, just on account of the 

229 



MARK TWAIN 

indifference and neglect of one's posterity!" and 
the poor ghost grated his teeth in a way that gave 
me a wrench and a shiver for the effect is might- 
ily increased by the absence of muffling flesh and 
cuticle. "I reside in that old graveyard, and have 
for these thirty years; and I tell you things are 
changed since I first laid this old tired frame there, 
and turned over, and stretched out for a long sleep, 
with a delicious sense upon me of being done with 
bother, and grief, and anxiety, and doubt, and fear, 
forever and ever, and listening with comfortable and 
increasing satisfaction to the sexton's work, from 
the startling clatter of his first spadeful on my coffin 
till it dulled away to the faint patting that shaped 
the roof of my new home delicious ! My ! I wish 
you could try it to-night!" and out of my reverie 
deceased fetched me a rattling slap with a bony 
hand. 

"Yes, sir, thirty years ago I laid me down there, 
and was happy. For it was out in the country then 
out in the breezy, flowery, grand old woods, and 
the lazy winds gossiped with the leaves, and the 
squirrels capered over us and around us, and the 
creeping things visited us, and the birds filled the 
tranquil solitude with music. Ah, it was worth ten 
years of a man's life to be dead then! Everything 
was pleasant. I was in a good neighborhood, for 
all the dead people that lived near me belonged to 
the best families in the city. Our posterity appeared 
to think the world of us. They kept our graves in 
the very best condition; the fences were always in 
faultless repair, head-boards were kept painted or 

230 



A CURIOUS DREAM 

whitewashed, and were replaced with new ones as 
soon as they began to look rusty or decayed; monu- 
ments were kept upright, railings intact and bright, 
the rose-bushes and shrubbery trimmed, trained, and 
free from blemish, the walks clean and smooth and 
graveled. But that day is gone by. Our descend- 
ants have forgotten us. My grandson lives in a 
stately house built with money made by these old 
hands of mine, and I sleep in a neglected grave with 
invading vermin that gnaw my shroud to build them 
nests withal ! I and friends that lie with me founded 
and secured the prosperity of this fine city, and the 
stately bantling of our loves leaves us to rot in a 
dilapidated cemetery which neighbors curse and 
strangers scoff at. See the difference between the 
old time and this for instance: Our graves are all 
caved in now; our head-boards have rotted away 
and tumbled down; our railings reel this way and 
that, with one foot in the air, after a fashion of un- 
seemly levity ; our monuments lean wearily, and our 
gravestones bow their heads discouraged; there be 
no adornments any more no roses, nor shrubs, nor 
graveled walks, nor anything that is a comfort to the 
eye; and even the paintless old board fence that did 
make a show of holding us sacred from companion- 
ship with beasts and the defilement of heedless feet, 
has tottered till it overhangs the street, and only 
advertises the presence of our dismal resting-place 
and invites yet more derision to it. And now we 
cannot hide our poverty and tatters in the friendly 
woods, for the city has stretched its withering arms 
abroad and taken us in. and all that remains of the 

231 



MARK TWAIN 

cheer of our old home is the cluster of lugubrious 
forest trees that stand, bored and weary of a city 
life, with their feet in our coffins, looking into the 
hazy distance and wishing they were there. I tell 
you it is disgraceful ! 

"You begin to comprehend you begin to see 
how it is. While our descendants are living sumptu- 
ously on our money, right around us in the city, we 
have to fight hard to keep skull and bones together. 
Bless you, there isn't a grave in our cemetery that 
doesn't leak not one. Every time it rains in the 
night we have to climb out and roost in the trees 
and sometimes we are wakened suddenly by the 
chilly water trickling down the back of our necks. 
Then I tell you there is a general heaving up of old 
graves and kicking over of old monuments, and 
scampering of old skeletons for the trees! Bless 
me, if you had gone along there some such nights 
after twelve you might have seen as many as fifteen 
of us roosting on one limb, with our joints rattling 
drearily and the wind wheezing through our ribs! 
Many a time we have perched there for three or four 
dreary hours, and then come down, stiff and chilled 
through and drowsy, and borrowed each other's 
skulls to bail out our graves with if you will 
glance up in my mouth now as I tilt my head back, 
you can see that my head-piece is half full of old dry 
sediment how top-heavy and stupid it makes me 
sometimes! Yes, sir, many a time if you had hap- 
pened to come along just before the dawn you'd 
have caught us bailing out the graves and hanging 
our shrouds on the fence to dry. Why, I had an 

232 



A CURIOUS DREAM 

elegant shroud stolen from there one morning- 
think a party by the name of Smith took it, that 
resides in a plebeian graveyard over yonder I 
think so because the first time I ever saw him he 
hadn't anything on but a check shirt, and the last 
time I saw him, which was at a social gathering in 
the new cemetery, he was the best-dressed corpse 
in the company and it is a significant fact that he 
left when he saw me; and presently an old woman 
from here missed her coffin she generally took it 
with her when she went anywhere, because she was 
liable to take cold and bring on the spasmodic rheu- 
matism that originally killed her if she exposed her- 
self to the night air much. She was named Hotch- 
kiss Anna Matilda Hotchkiss you might know 
her? She has two upper front teeth, is tall, but a 
good deal inclined to stoop, one rib on the left side 
gone, has one shred of rusty hair hanging from the 
left side of her head, and one little tuft just above 
and a little forward of her right ear, has her under- 
jaw wired on one side where it had worked loose, 
small bone of left forearm gone lost in a fight has 
a kind of swagger in her gait and a 'gallus* way of 
going with her arms akimbo and her nostrils in the 
air has been pretty free and easy, and is all dam- 
aged and battered up till she looks like a queensware 
crate in ruins maybe you have met her?" 

' ' God forbid !' ' I involuntarily ejaculated, for some- 
how I was not looking for that form of question, and 
it caught me a little off my guard. But I hastened 
to make amends for my rudeness, and say, "I simply 
meant I had not had the honor for I would not 

233 



MARK TWAIN 

deliberately speak discourteously of a friend of yours. 
You were saying that you were robbed and it was 
a shame, too but it appears by what is left of the 
shroud you have on that it was a costly one in its 
day. How did" 

A most ghastly expression began to develop 
among the decayed features and shriveled integu- 
ments of my guest's face, and I was beginning to 
grow uneasy and distressed, when he told me he was 
only working up a deep, sly smile, with a wink in it, 
to suggest that about the time he acquired his 
present garment a ghost in a neighboring cemetery 
missed one. This reassured me, but I begged him 
to confine himself to speech thenceforth, because 
his facial expression was uncertain. Even with the 
most elaborate care it was liable to miss fire. Smiling 
should especially be avoided. What he might 
honestly consider a shining success was likely to 
strike me in a very different light. I said I liked 
to see a skeleton cheerful, even decorously playful, 
but I did not think smiling was a skeleton's best 
hold. 

"Yes, friend," said the poor skeleton, "the facts 
are just as I have given them to you. Two of these 
old graveyards the one that I resided in and one 
further along have been deliberately neglected by 
our descendants of to-day until there is no occupy- 
ing them any longer. Aside from the osteological 
discomfort of it and that is no light matter this 
rainy weather the present state of things is ruinous 
to property. We have got to move or be content to 
see our effects wasted away and utterly destroyed. 

234 



A CURIOUS DREAM 

Now, you will hardly believe it, but it is true, never- 
theless, that there isn't a single coffin in good repair 
among all my acquaintance now that is an abso- 
lute fact. I do not refer to low people who come 
in a pine box mounted on an express-wagon, but I 
am talking about your high-toned, silver-mounted 
burial-case, your monumental sort, that travel under 
black plumes at the head of a procession and have 
choice of cemetery lots I mean folks like the 
Jarvises, and the Bledsoes and Burlings, and such. 
They are all about ruined. The most substantial 
people in our set, they were. And now look at them 
utterly used up and poverty-stricken. One of 
the Bledsoes actually traded his monument to a late 
barkeeper for some fresh shavings to put under his 
head. I tell you it speaks volumes, for there is 
nothing a corpse takes so much pride in as his 
monument. He loves to read the inscription. He 
comes after a while to believe what it says himself, 
and then you may see him sitting on the fence night 
after night enjoying it. Epitaphs are cheap, and 
they do a poor chap a world of good after he is 
dead, especially if he had hard luck while he was 
alive. I wish they were used more. Now I don't 
complain, but confidentially I do think it was a little 
shabby in my descendants to give me nothing but 
this old slab of a gravestone and all the more that 
there isn't a compliment on it. It used to have 

'GONE TO HIS JUST REWARD' 

on it, and I was proud when I first saw it, but by 
and by I noticed that whenever an old friend of mine 

235 



MARK TWAIN 

came along he would hook his chin on the railing 
and pull a long face and read along down till he 
came to that, and then he would chuckle to himself 
and walk off, looking satisfied and comfortable. So 
I scratched it off to get rid of those fools. But a 
dead man always takes a deal of pride in his monu- 
ment. Yonder goes half a dozen of the Jarvises now, 
with the family monument along. And Smithers 
and some hired specters went by with his awhile 
ago. Hello, Higgins, good-by, old friend! That's 
Meredith Higgins died in '44 belongs to our set 
in the cemetery fine old family great-grand- 
mother was an Injun I am on the most familiar 
terms with him he didn't hear me was the reason 
he didn't answer me. And I am sorry, too, because 
I would have liked to introduce you. You would 
admire him. He is the most disjointed, sway-backed, 
and generally distorted old skeleton you ever saw, 
but he is full of fun. When he laughs it sounds like 
rasping two stones together, and he always starts 
it off with a cheery screech like raking a nail across 
a window-pane. Hey, Jones! That is old Colum- 
bus Jones shroud cost four hundred dollars 
entire trousseau, including monument, twenty-seven 
hundred. This was in the spring of '26. It was 
enormous style for those days. Dead people came 
all the way from the Alleghanies to see his things 
the party that occupied the grave next to mine 
remembers it well. Now do you see that individual 
going along with a piece of a head-board under his 
arm, one leg-bone below his knee gone, and not a 
thing in the world on? That is Barstow Dalhousie, 

236 



A CURIOUS DREAM 

and next to Columbus Jones he was the most 
sumptuously outfitted person that ever entered our 
cemetery. We are all leaving. We cannot tolerate 
the treatment we are receiving at the hands of our 
descendants. They open new cemeteries, but they 
leave us to our ignominy. They mend the streets, 
but they never mend anything that is about us or 
belongs to us. Look at that coffin of mine yet 
I tell you in its day it was a piece of furniture that 
would have attracted attention in any drawing-room 
in this city. You may have it if you want it I 
can't afford to repair it. Put a new bottom in her, 
and part of a new top, and a bit of fresh lining 
along the left side, and you'll find her about as com- 
fortable as any receptacle of her species you ever 
tried. No thanks no, don't mention it you have 
been civil to me, and I would give you all the prop- 
erty I have got before I would seem ungrateful. 
Now this winding-sheet is a kind of a sweet thing 
in its way, if you would like to No? Well, just 
as you say, but I wished to be fair and liberal 
there's nothing mean about me. Good-by, friend, 
I must be going. I may have a good way to go 
to-night don't know. I only know one thing for 
certain, and that is that I am on the emigrant trail 
now, and I'll never sleep in that crazy old cemetery 
again. I will travel till I find respectable quarters, 
if I have to hoof it to New Jersey. All the boys are 
going. It was decided in public conclave, last night, 
to emigrate, and by the time the sun rises there 
won't be a bone left in our old habitations. Such 
cemeteries may suit my surviving friends, but they 

237 



MARK TWAIN 

do not suit the remains that have the honor to 
make these remarks. My opinion is the general 
opinion. If you doubt it, go and see how the 
departing ghosts upset things before they started. 
They were almost riotous in their demonstrations of 
distaste. Hello, here are some of the Bledsoes, and 
if you will give me a lift with this tombstone I 
guess I will join company and jog along with them 
mighty respectable old family, the Bledsoes, and 
used to always come out in six-horse hearses and 
all that sort of thing fifty years ago when I walked 
these streets in daylight. Good-by, friend." 

And with his gravestone on his shoulder he joined 
the grisly procession, dragging his damaged coffin 
after him, for notwithstanding he pressed it upon 
me so earnestly, I utterly refused his hospitality. I 
suppose that for as much as two hours these sad 
outcasts went clacking by, laden with their dismal 
effects, and all that time I sat pitying them. One 
or two of the youngest and least dilapidated among 
them inquired about midnight trains on the railways, 
but the rest seemed unacquainted with that mode of 
travel, and merely asked about common public roads 
to various towns and cities, some of which are not 
on the map now, and vanished from it and from the 
earth as much as thirty years ago, and some few of 
them never had existed anywhere but on maps, and 
private ones in real-estate agencies at that. And 
they asked about the condition of the cemeteries in 
these towns and cities, and about the reputation the 
citizens bore as to reverence for the dead. 

This whole matter interested me deeply, and like- 
238 



A CURIOUS DREAM 

;vise compelled my sympathy for these homeless 
>nes. And it all seeming real, and I not knowing 
t was a dream, I mentioned to one shrouded wan- 
lerer an idea that had entered my head to publish 
in account of this curious and very sorrowful exodus, 
)ut said also that I could not describe it truthfully, 
ind just as it occurred, without seeming to trifle 
vith a grave subject and exhibit an irreverence for 
;he dead that would shock and distress their sur- 
viving friends. But this bland and stately remnant 
)f a former citizen leaned him far over my gate and 
vhispered in my ear, and said: 

"Do not let that disturb you. The community 
;hat can stand such graveyards as those we are 
emigrating from can stand anything a body can 
;ay about the neglected and forsaken dead that lie 
n them." 

At that very moment a cock crowed, and the 
veird procession vanished and left not a shred or 
i bone behind. I awoke, and found myself lying 
vith my head out of the bed and "sagging" down- 
vard considerably a position favorable to dream- 
ng dreams with morals in them, maybe, but not 
poetry. 

NOTE. The reader is assured that if the cemeteries in his town 
ire kept in good order, this Dream is not leveled at his town at all, 
aut is leveled particularly and venomously at the next town. 



A TRUE STORY 1 

REPEATED WORD FOR WORD AS I HEARD IT 

IT was summer - time, and twilight. We were 
sitting on the porch of the farmhouse, on the 
summit of the hill, and "Aunt Rachel" was sitting 
respectfully below our level, on the steps for she 
was our servant, and colored. She was of mighty 
frame and stature; she was sixty years old, but her 
eye was undimmed and her strength unabated. She 
was a cheerful, hearty soul, and it was no more 
trouble for her to laugh than it is for a bird to sing. 
She was under fire now, as usual when the day was 
done. That is to say, she was being chaffed without 
mercy, and was enjoying it. She would let off peal 
after peal of laughter, and then sit with her face in 
her hands and shake with throes of enjoyment which 
she could no longer get breath enough to express. 
At such a moment as this a thought occurred to me, 
and I said: 

"Aunt Rachel, how is it that you've lived sixty 
years and never had any trouble?" 

She stopped quaking. She paused, and there was 
a moment of silence. She turned her face over her 
shoulder toward me, and said, without even a smile 
in her voice: 

1 Written about 1876. 
240 



A TRUE STORY 

"Misto C , is you in 'arnest?" 

It surprised me a good deal; and it sobered my 
manner and my speech, too. I said : 

"Why, I thought that is, I meant why, you 
can't have had any trouble. I've never heard you 
sigh, and never seen your eye when there wasn't a 
laugh in it." 

She faced fairly around now, and was full of 
earnestness. 

"Has I had any trouble? Misto C , I's 

gwyne to tell you, den I leave it to you. I was 
bawn down 'mongst de slaves; I knows all 'bout 
slavery, 'case I ben one of 'em my own se'f. Well, 
sah, my ole man dat's my husban' he was lovin' 
an' kind to me, jist as land as you is to yo' own 
wife. An' we had chil'en seven chil'en an' we 
loved dem chil'en jist de same as you loves yo' 
chil'en. Dey was black, but de Lord can't make no 
chil'en so black but what dey mother loves 'em an' 
wouldn't give 'em up, no, not for anything dat's in 
dis whole world. 

"Well, sah, I was raised in ole Fo'ginny, but my 
mother she was raised in Maryland; an' my souls! 
she was tumble when she'd git started! My Ian'! 
but she'd make de fur fly! When she'd git into 
dem tantrums, she always had one word dat she 
said. She'd straighten herse'f up an' put her fists 
in her hips an' say, ' I want you to understan' dat I 
wa'n't bawn in the mash to be fool' by trash! I's 
one o' de ole Blue Hen's Chickens, /is!' 'Ca'se, 
you see, dat's what folks dat's bawn in Maryland 
calls deyselves, an' dey's proud of it. Well, dat was 

241 



MARK TWAIN 

her word. I don't ever forgit it, beca'se she said it 
so much, an' beca'se she said it one day when my 
little Henry tore his wris' awful, and most busted 
his head, right up at de top of his forehead, an* de 
niggers didn't fly aroun' fas' enough to 'tend to 
him. An' when dey talk' back at her, she up an' 
she says, 'Look-a-heah!' she says, 'I want you 
niggers to understan' dat I wa'n't bawn in de mash 
to be fool' by trash! I's one o' de ole Blue Hen's 
Chickens, J is!' an' den she clar' dat kitchen an* 
bandage' up de chile herse'f. So I says dat word, 
too, when I's riled. 

"Well, bymeby my ole mistis say she's broke, an' 
she got to sell all de niggers on de place. An' when 
I heah dat dey gwyne to sell us all off at oction 
in Richmon', oh, de good gracious! I know what 
dat mean!" 

Aunt Rachel had gradually risen, while she 
warmed to her subject, and now she towered above 
us, black against the stars. 

"Dey put chains on us an' put us on a stan' as 
high as dis po'ch twenty foot high an' all de 
people stood aroun', crowds an' crowds. An' dey'd 
come up dah an' look at us all roun', an' squeeze 
our arm, an' make us git up an' walk, an' den say, 
'Dis one too ole,' or 'Dis one lame,' or 'Dis one 
don't 'mount to much.' An' dey sole my ole man, 
an' took him away, an* dey begin to sell my chil'en 
an' take dem away, an' I begin to cry; an* de man 
say, 'Shet up yo' damn blubberin',' an' hit me on 
de mouf wid his han'. An' when de las' one was 
gone but my little Henry, I grab* him clost up to 

242 



A TRUE STORY 

my breas' so, an' I ris up an' says, 'You sha'n't 
take him away,' I says; 'I'll kill de man dat tetches 
him ! ' I says. But my little Henry whisper an' say, 
'I gwyne to run away, an' den I work an' buy yo* 
freedom.' Oh, bless de chile, he always so good! 
But dey got him dey got him, de men did; but I 
took and tear de clo'es mos' off of 'em an' beat 'em 
over de head wid my chain; an' dey give it to me, 
too, but I didn't mine dat. 

"Well, dah was my ole man gone, an* all my 
cliil'en, all my seven chil'en an' six of 'em I hain't 
set eyes on ag'in to dis day, an' dat's twenty-two 
year ago las' Easter. De man dat bought me 
blong' in Newbern, an' he took me dah. Well, 
bymeby de years roll on an* de waw come. My 
marster he was a Confedrit colonel, an' I was his 
family's cook. So when de Unions took dat town, 
dey all run away an' lef me all by myse'f wid de 
other niggers in dat mons'us big house. So de big 
Union officers move in dah, an' dey ask me would I 
cook for dem. 'Lord bless you/ says I, 'dat's 
what I 's for.' 

"Dey wa'n't no small-fry officers, mine you, dey 
was de biggest dey is; an' de way dey made dem 
sojers mosey roun'! De Gen'l he tole me to boss 
dat kitchen; an' he say, 'If anybody come meddlin* 
wid you, you jist make 'em walk chalk; don't you 
be af eared,' he say; 'you's 'mong frens now.' 

"Well, I thinks to myse'f, if my little Henry 
ever got a chance to run away, he'd make to de 
Norf, o' course. So one day I comes in dah whar 
de big officers was, in de parlor, an' I drops a kurtchy, 

243 



MARK TWAIN 

so, an' I up an' tole 'em 'bout my Henry, dey 
a-listenin' to my troubles jist de same as if I was 
white folks; an' I says, 'What I come for is beca'se 
if he got away and got up Norf whar you gemmen 
comes from, you might 'a' seen him, maybe, an' 
could tell me so as I could fine him ag'in; he was 
very little, an* he had a sk-yar on his lef wris' an' 
at de top of his forehead.' Den dey look mournful, 
an* de Gen'l says, 'How long sence you los' him?' 
an' I say, 'Thirteen year.' Den de Gen'l say, 'He 
wouldn't be little no mo' now he's a man!' 

"I never thought o' dat befo'! He was only 
dat little feller to me yit. I never thought 'bout 
him growin' up an' bein' big. But I see it den. 
None o' de gemmen had run acrost him, so dey 
couldn't do nothin' for me. But all dat time, do' I 
didn't know it, my Henry was run off to de Norf, 
years an' years, an' he was a barber, too, an' worked 
for hisse'f. An' bymeby, when de waw come he 
ups an' he says: Ts done barberin',' he says, 'I's 
gwyne to fine my ole mammy, less'n she's dead.' 
So he sole out an* went to whar dey was recruitin', 
an' hired hisse'f out to de colonel for his servant; 
an' den he went all froo de battles everywhah, 
huntin' for his ole mammy; yes, indeedy, he'd hire 
to fust one officer an' den another, tell he'd ran- 
sacked de whole Souf ; but you see / didn't know 
nuffin 'bout dis. How was I gwyne to know it ? 

"Well, one night we had a big sojer ball; de sojers 
dah at Newbern was always havin' balls an' carry in' 
on. Dey had 'em in my kitchen, heaps o' times, 
'ca'se it was so big. Mine you, I was down on sich 

244 



A TRUE STORY 

doin's; beca'se my place was wid de officers, an' it 
rasp me to have dem common sojers cavortin' roun' 
my kitchen like dat. But I alway' stood aroun' an' 
kep' things straight, I did; an' sometimes dey'd git 
my dander up, an' den I'd make 'em clar dat kitchen, 
mine I tell you ! 

"Well, one night it was a Friday night dey 
comes a whole platoon f'm a nigger ridgment dat 
was on guard at de house de house was head- 
quarters, you know an' den I was jist a-bilin'! 
Mad? I was jist a-boomin'l I swelled aroun', an* 
swelled aroun'; I jist was a-itchin' for 'em to do 
somefin for to start me. An' dey was a-waltzin' an* 
a-dancin'! my! but dey was havin' a time! an* I 
jist a-swellin' an' a-swellin' up! Pooty soon, 'long 
comes sick a spruce young nigger a-sailin' down de 
room wid a yaller wench roun' de wais'; an' roun' 
an' roun' an roun' dey went, enough to make a body 
drunk to look at 'em; an' when dey got abreas' o' 
me, dey went to kin' o' balacin' aroun' fust on one 
leg an' den on t'other, an' smilin' at my big red 
turban, an' makin' fun, an' I ups an' says 'Git 
along wid you! rubbage!' De young man's face 
kin' o' changed, all of a sudden, for 'bout a second, 
but den he went to smilin' ag'in, same as he was 
befo'. Well, 'bout dis time, in comes some niggers 
dat played music and b'long* to de ban', an' dey 
never could git along widout puttin' on airs. An' 
de very fust air dey put on dat night, I lit into 'em! 
Dey laughed, an' dat made me wuss. De res' o* 
de niggers got to laughin', an' den my soul alive 
but I was hot! My eye was jist a-blazin'! I jist 

245 



MARK TWAIN 

straightened myself up so jist as I is now, plum 
to de x:eilin', mos' an' I digs my fists into my 
hips, an' I says, 'Look-a-heah!' I says, 'I want 
you niggers to understan' dat I wa'n't bawn in de 
mash to be fool' by trash! I's one o' de ole Blue 
Hen's Chickens, I is!' an' den I see dat young 
man stan' a-starin' an' stiff, lookin' kin' o' up at de 
ceilin' like he fo'got somefin, an' couldn't 'member 
it no mo'. Well, I jist march' on dem niggers 
so, lookin' like a gen'l an' dey jist cave' away 
befo' me an' out at de do'. An' as dis young man 
was a-goin' out, I heah him say to another nigger, 
'Jim,' he says, 'you go 'long an' tell de cap'n I be 
on han' 'bout eight o'clock in de mawnin'; dey's 
somefin on my mine,' he says; 'I don't sleep no 
mo' dis night. You go 'long,' he says, 'an' leave 
me by my own se'f.' 

"Dis was 'bout one o'clock in de mawnin'. Well, 
'bout seven, I was up an' on han', gittin' de officers' 
breakfast. I was a-stoopin' down by de stove 
jist so, same as if yo' foot was de stove an' I'd 
opened de stove do' wid my right han' so, pushin' 
it back, jist as I pushes yo' foot an' I'd jist got 
de pan o' hot biscuits in my han' an* was 'bout to 
raise up, when I see a black face come aroun' under 
mine, an' de eyes a-lookin* up into mine, jist as I's 
a-lookin' up clost under yo' face now; an' I jist 
stopped right dah, an' never budged! jist gazed 
an' gazed so; an' de pan begin to tremble, an' all 
of a sudden I knowed! De pan drop' on de flo' 
an' I grab his lef han' an* shove back his sleeve 
jist so, as I's doin' to you an* den I goes for his 

246 



A TRUE STORY 

forehead an' push de hair back so, an' 'Boy!' I 
says, 'if you an't my Henry, what is you doin* wid 
dis welt on yo' wris' an' dat sk-yar on yo* forehead? 
De Lord God ob heaven be praise', I got my own 
ag'in!' 

"Oh no, Misto C , / hain't had no trouble. 

An' no joy I" 



THE SIAMESE TWINS 1 

1DO not wish to write of the personal habits of 
these strange creatures solely, but also of certain 
curious details of various kinds concerning them, 
which, belonging only to their private life, have 
never crept into print. Knowing the Twins inti- 
mately, I feel that I am peculiarly well qualified for 
the task I have taken upon myself. 

The Siamese Twins are naturally tender and affec- 
tionate in disposition, and have clung to each other 
with singular fidelity throughout a long and eventful 
life. Even as children they were inseparable com- 
panions ; and it was noticed that they always seemed 
to prefer each other's society to that of any other 
persons. They nearly always played together; and, 
so accustomed was their mother to this peculiarity, 
that, whenever both of them chanced to be lost, she 
usually only hunted for one of them satisfied that 
when she found that one she would find his brother 
somewhere in the immediate neighborhood. And 
yet these creatures were ignorant and unlettered 
barbarians themselves and the offspring of barba- 
rians, who knew not the light of philosophy and 
science. What a withering rebuke is this to our 
boasted civilization, with its quarrelings, its wrang- 
lings, and its separations of brothers! 
1 Written about 1868. 
248 



THE SIAMESE TWINS 

As men, the Twins have not always lived in per- 
fect accord; but still there has always been a bond 
between them which made them unwilling to go 
away from each other and dwell apart. They have 
even occupied the same house, as a general thing, 
and it is believed that they have never failed to even 
sleep together on any night since they were born. 
How surely do the habits of a lifetime become 
second nature to us! The Twins always go to bed 
at the same time; but Chang usually gets up about 
an hour before his brother. By an understanding 
between themselves, Chang does all the indoor work 
and Eng runs all the errands. This is because 
Eng likes to go out; Chang's habits are sedentary. 
However, Chang always goes along. Eng is a 
Baptist, but Chang is a Roman Catholic; still, to 
please his brother, Chang consented to be baptized 
at the same time that Eng was, on condition that it 
should not "count." During the war they were 
strong partisans, and both fought gallantly all 
through the great struggle Eng on the Union side 
and Chang on the Confederate. They took each 
other prisoners at Seven Oaks, but the proofs of 
capture were so evenly balanced in favor of each, 
that a general army court had to be assembled to 
determine which one was properly the captor and 
which the captive. The jury was unable to agree for 
a long time; but the vexed question was finally 
decided by agreeing to consider them both prisoners, 
and then exchanging them. At one time Chang 
was convicted of disobedience of orders, and sen- 
tenced to ten days in the guard-house, but Eng, in 

249 



MARK TWAIN 

spite of all arguments, felt obliged to share his im- 
prisonment, notwithstanding he himself was entirely 
innocent ; and so, to save the blameless brother from 
suffering, they had to discharge both from custody 
the just reward of faithfulness. 

Upon one occasion the brothers fell out about 
something, and Chang knocked Eng down, and then 
tripped and fell on him, whereupon both clinched 
and began to beat and gouge each other without 
mercy. The bystanders interfered, and tried to 
separate them, but they could not do it, and so 
allowed them to fight it out. In the end both were 
disabled, and were carried to the hospital on one and 
the same shutter. 

Their ancient habit of going always together had 
its drawbacks when they reached man's estate, and 
entered upon the luxury of courting. Both fell in 
love with the same girl. Each tried to steal clandes- 
tine interviews with her, but at the critical moment 
the other would always turn up. By and by Eng 
saw, with distraction, that Chang had won the girl's 
affections; and, from that day forth, he had to bear 
with the agony of being a witness to all their dainty 
billing and cooing. But with a magnanimity that 
did him infinite credit, he succumbed to his fate, 
and gave countenance and encouragement to a state 
of things that bade fair to sunder his generous 
heart-strings. He sat from seven every evening 
until two in the morning, listening to the fond fool- 
ishness of the two lovers, and to the concussion of 
hundreds of squandered kisses for the privilege of 
sharing only one of which he would have given his 

250 



THE SIAMESE TWINS 

right hand. But he sat patiently, and waited, and 
gaped, and yawned, and stretched, and longed for 
two o'clock to come. And he took long walks with 
the lovers on moonlight evenings sometimes tra- 
versing ten miles, notwithstanding he was usually 
suffering from rheumatism. He is an inveterate 
smoker; but he could not smoke on these occasions, 
because the young lady was painfully sensitive to 
the smell of tobacco. Eng cordially wanted them 
married, and done with it; but although Chang 
oftea asked the momentous question, the young 
lady could not gather sufficient courage to answer 
it while Eng was by. However, on one occasion, 
after having walked some sixteen miles, and sat up 
till nearly daylight, Eng dropped asleep, from sheer 
exhaustion, and then the question was asked and 
answered. The lovers were married. All ac- 
quainted with the circumstance applauded the noble 
brother-in-law. His unwavering faithfulness was the 
theme of every tongue. He had stayed by them all 
through their long and arduous courtship ; and when 
at last they were married, he lifted his hands above 
their heads, and said with impressive unction, "Bless 
ye, my children, I will never desert ye!" and he kept 
his word. Fidelity like this, is all too rare in this 
cold world. 

By and by Eng fell in love with his sister-in-law's 
sister, and married her, and since that day they 
have all lived together, night and day, in an exceed- 
ing sociability which is touching and beautiful to 
behold, and is a scathing rebuke to our boasted 
civilization. 

251 



MARK TWAIN 

The sympathy existing between these two brothers 
is so close and so refined that the feelings, the im- 
pulses, the emotions of the one are instantly experi- 
enced by the other. When one is sick, the other is 
sick; when one feels pain, the other feels it; when 
one is angered, the other's temper takes fire. We 
have already seen with what happy facility they 
both fell in love with the same girl. Now Chang is 
bitterly opposed to all forms of intemperance, on 
principle; but Eng is the reverse for, while these 
men's feelings and emotions are so closely wedded, 
their reasoning faculties are unfettered; their thoughts 
are free. Chang belongs to the Good Templars, and 
is a hard-working, enthusiastic supporter of all 
temperance reforms. But, to his bitter distress, 
every now and then Eng gets drunk, and, of course, 
that makes Chang drunk too. This unfortunate 
thing has been a great sorrow to Chang, for it 
almost destroys his usefulness in his favorite field of 
effort. As sure as he is to head a great temperance 
procession Eng ranges up alongside of him, prompt 
to the minute, and drunk as a lord; but yet no more 
dismally and hopelessly drunk than his brother, who 
has not tasted a drop. And so the two begin to 
hoot and yell, and throw mud and bricks at the 
Good Templars; and, of course, they break up the 
procession. It would be manifestly wrong to punish 
Chang for what Eng does, and, therefore, the Good 
Templars accept the untoward situation, and suffer 
in silence and sorrow. They have officially and 
deliberately examined into the matter, and find 
Chang blameless. They have taken the two broth- 

252 



THE SIAMESE TWINS 

ers and filled Chang full of warm water and sugar 
and Eng full of whisky, and in twenty-five minutes 
it was not possible to tell which was the drunkest. 
Both were as drunk as loons and on hot whisky 
punches, by the smell of their breath. Yet all the 
while Chang's moral principles were unsullied, his 
conscience clear; and so all just men were forced to 
confess that he was not morally, but only physically, 
drunk. By every right and by every moral evidence 
the man was strictly sober; and, therefore, it caused 
his friends all the more anguish to see him shake 
hands with the pump and try to wind his watch 
with his night-key. 

There is a moral in these solemn warnings or, at 
least, a warning in these solemn morals; one or the 
other. No matter, it is somehow. Let us heed it; 
let us profit by it. 

I could say more of an instructive nature about 
these interesting beings, but let what I have written 
suffice. 

Having forgotten to mention it sooner, I will re- 
mark in conclusion that the ages of the Siamese 
Twins are respectively fifty-one and fifty-three 
years. 



SPEECH AT THE SCOTTISH 
BANQUET IN LONDON 1 

A" the anniversary festival of the Scottish Cor- 
poration of London on Monday evening, in 
response to the toast of "The Ladies," MARK 
TWAIN replied. The following is his speech as re- 
ported in the London Observer: 

I am proud, indeed, of the distinction of being chosen to 
respond to this especial toast, to 'The Ladies,' or to women if 
yon please, for that is the preferable term, perhaps; it is cer- 
tainly the older, and therefore the more entitled to reverence. 
[Laughter.] I have noticed that the Bible, with that plain, 
blunt honesty which is such a conspicuous characteristic of the 
Scriptures, is always particular to never refer to even the il- 
lustrious mother of all mankind herself as a 'lady,' but speaks 
of her as a woman. [Laughter.] It is odd, but you will find 
it is so. I am peculiarly proud of this honor, because I think 
that the toast to women is one which, by right and by every rule 
of gallantry, should take precedence of all others of the army, 
of the navy, of even royalty itself perhaps, though the latter is 
not necessary in this day and in this land, for the reason that, 
tacitly, you do drink a broad general health to all good women 
when you drink the health of the Queen of England and the 
Princess of Wales. [Loud cheers.] I have in mind a poem just 
now which is familiar to you all, familiar to everybody. And 
what an inspiration that was (and how instantly the present 
toast recalls the verses to all our minds) when the most noble, 
the most gracious, the purest, and sweetest of all poets says: 

"Woman! O woman! er 
Worn" 

1 Written about 1872. 
254 



SPEECH AT SCOTTISH BANQUET 

[Laughter.] However, you remember the lines; and you re- 
member how feelingly, how daintily, how almost imperceptibly 
the verses raise up before you, feature by feature, the ideal of 
a true and perfect woman; and how, as you contemplate the 
finished marvel, your homage grows into worship of the intellect 
that could create so fair a thing out of mere breath, mere words. 
And you call to mind now, as I speak, how the poet, with stern 
fidelity to the history of all humanity, delivers this beautiful 
child of his heart and his brain over to the trials and sorrows 
that must come to all, sooner or later, that abide in the earth, 
and how the pathetic story culminates in that apostrophe so 
wild, so regretful, so full of mournful retrospection. The lines 
run thus: 

" Alas ! alas ! a alas ! 
Alas! alas!" 

and so on. [Laughter.] I do not remember the rest; but, 
taken together, it seems to me that poem is the noblest tribute 
to woman that human genius has ever brought forth [laughter] 
and I feel that if I were to talk hours I could not do my great 
theme completer or more graceful justice than I have now done 
in simply quoting that poet's matchless words. [Renewed 
laughter.] The phases of the womanly nature are infinite in 
their variety. Take any type of woman, and you shall find 
in it something to respect, something to admire, something to 
love. And you shall find the whole joining you heart and hand. 
Who was more patriotic than Joan of Arc? Who was braver? 
Who has given us a grander instance of self-sacrificing devotion? 
Ah! you remember, you remember well, what a throb of pain, 
what a great tidal wave of grief swept over us all when Joan of 
Arc fell at Waterloo. [Much laughter.] Who does not sorrow 
for the loss of Sappho, the sweet singer of Israel? [Laughter.] 
Who among us does not miss the gentle ministrations, the soft- 
ening influences, the humble piety of Lucretia Borgia? [Laugh- 
ter.] Who can join in the heartless libel that says woman is 
extravagant in dress when he can look back and call to mind 
our simple and lowly mother Eve arrayed in her modification of 
the Highland costume. [Roars of laughter.] Sir, women have 
been soldiers, women have been painters, women have been 
poets. As long as language lives the name of Cleopatra will live. 

255 



MARK TWAIN 

And, not because she conquered George III. [laughter] but 
because she wrote those divine lines: 

"Let dogs delight to bark and bite, 
For God hath made them so." 

[More laughter.] The story of the world is adorned with the 
names of illustrious ones of our own sex some of them sons of 
St. Andrew, too Scott, Bruce, Burns, the warrior Wallace, 
Ben Nevis [laughter] the gifted Ben Lomond, and the great 
new Scotchman, Ben Disraeli. 1 [Great laughter.] Out of the 
great plains of history tower whole mountain ranges of sublime 
women the Queen of Sheba, Josephine, Semiramis, Sairey 
Gamp; the list is endless [laughter] but I will not call the 
mighty roll, the names rise up in your own memories at the mere 
suggestion, luminous with the glory of deeds that cannot die, 
hallowed by the loving worship of the good and the true of all 
epochs and all climes. [Cheers.] Suffice it for our pride and 
our honor that we in our day have added to it such names as 
those of Grace Darling and Florence Nightingale. [Cheers.] 
Woman is all that she should be gentle, patient, long suffering, 
trustful, unselfish, full of generous impulses. It is her blessed 
mission to comfort the sorrowing, plead for the erring, encour- 
age the faint of purpose, succor the distressed, uplift the fallen, 
befriend the friendless in a word, afford the healing of her 
sympathies and a home in her heart for all the bruised and per- 
secuted children of misfortune that knock at its hospitable door. 
[Cheers.] And when I say, God bless her, there is none among 
us who has known the ennobling affection of a wife, or the 
steadfast devotion of a mother, but in his heart will say, Amen! 
[Loud and prolonged cheering.] 

1 Mr. Benjamin Disraeli, at that time Prime Minister of England, 
had just been elected Lord Rector of Glasgow University, and had 
made a speech which gave rise to a world of discussion. 



A GHOST STORY 

I TOOK a large room, far up Broadway, in a huge 
old building whose upper stories had been 
wholly unoccupied for years until I came. The 
place had long been given up to dust and cobwebs, 
to solitude and silence. I seemed groping among 
the tombs and invading the privacy of the dead, that 
first night I climbed up to my quarters. For the 
first time in my life a superstitious dread came over 
me; and as I turned a dark angle of the stairway 
and an invisible cobweb swung its slazy woof in my 
face and clung there, I shuddered as one who had 
encountered a phantom. 

I was glad enough when I reached my room and 
locked out the mold and the darkness. A cheery 
fire was burning in the grate, and I sat down before 
it with a comforting sense of relief. For two hours 
I sat there, thinking of bygone times; recalling old 
scenes, and summoning half-forgotten faces out of 
the mists of the past; listening, in fancy, to voices 
that long ago grew silent for all time, and to once 
familiar songs that nobody sings now. And as my 
reverie softened down to a sadder and sadder pathos, 
the shrieking of the winds outside softened to a wail, 
the angry beating of the rain against the panes 
diminished to a tranquil patter, and one by one the 

257 



MARK TWAIN 

noises in the street subsided, until the hurrying foot- 
steps of the last belated straggler died away in the 
distance and left no sound behind. 

The fire had burned low. A sense of loneliness 
crept over me. I arose and undressed, moving on 
tiptoe about the room, doing stealthily what I had 
to do, as if I were environed by sleeping enemies 
whose slumbers it would be fatal to break. I 
covered up in bed, and lay listening to the rain and 
wind and the faint creaking of distant shutters, till 
they lulled me to sleep. 

I slept profoundly, but how long I do not know. 
All at once I found myself awake, and filled with 
a shuddering expectancy. All was still. All but 
my own heart I could hear it beat. Presently the 
bedclothes began to slip away slowly toward the foot 
of the bed, as if some one were pulling them ! I could 
not stir; I could not speak. Still the blankets 
slipped deliberately away, till my breast was un- 
covered. Then with a great effort I seized them and 
drew them over my head. I waited, listened, waited. 
Once more that steady pull began, and once more 
I lay torpid a century of dragging seconds till my 
breast was naked again. At last I roused my ener- 
gies and snatched the covers back to their place and 
held them with a strong grip. I waited. By and 
by I felt a faint tug, and took a fresh grip. The 
tug strengthened to a steady strain it grew 
stronger and stronger. My hold parted, and for the 
third time the blankets slid away. I groaned. An 
answering groan came from the foot of the bed! 
Beaded drops of sweat stood upon my forehead. I 

258 



A GHOST STORY 

was more dead than alive. Presently I heard a 
heavy footstep in my room the step of an elephant, 
it seemed to me it was not like anything human. 
But it was moving from me there was relief in 
that. I heard it approach the door pass out with- 
out moving bolt or lock and wander away among 
the dismal corridors, straining the floors and joists 
till they creaked again as it passed and then silence 
reigned once more. 

When my excitement had calmed, I said to my- 
self, "This is a dream simply a hideous dream." 
And so I lay thinking it over until I convinced 
myself that it was a dream, and then a comforting 
laugh relaxed my lips and I was happy again. I 
got up and struck a light; and when I found that 
the locks and bolts were just as I had left them, 
another soothing laugh welled in my heart and rip- 
pled from my lips. I took my pipe and lit it, and 
was just sitting down before the fire, when down 
went the pipe out of my nerveless fingers, the blood 
forsook my cheeks, and my placid breathing was 
cut short with a gasp! In the ashes on the hearth, 
side by side with my own bare footprint, was another, 
so vast that in comparison mine was but an in- 
fant's! Then I had had a visitor, and the elephant 
tread was explained. 

I put out the light and returned to bed, palsied 
with fear. I lay a long time, peering into the dark- 
ness, and listening. Then I heard a grating noise 
overhead, like the dragging of a heavy body across 
the floor; then the throwing down of the body, and 
the shaking of my windows in response to the con- 

259 



MARK TWAIN 

cussion. In distant parts of the building I heard the 
muffled slamming of doors. I heard, at intervals, 
stealthy footsteps creeping in and out among the 
corridors, and up and down the stairs. Sometimes 
these noises approached my door, hesitated, and 
went away again. I heard the clanking of chains 
faintly, in remote passages, and listened while the 
clanking grew nearer while it wearily climbed the 
stairways, marking each move by the loose surplus 
of chain that fell with an accented rattle upon each 
succeeding step as the goblin that bore it advanced. 
I heard muttered sentences; half -uttered screams 
that seemed smothered violently; and the swish of 
invisible garments, the rush of invisible wings. 
Then I became conscious that my chamber was 
invaded that I was not alone. I heard sighs and 
breathings about my bed, and mysterious whis- 
perings. Three little spheres of soft phosphorescent 
light appeared on the ceiling directly over my head, 
clung and glowed there a moment, and then dropped 
two of them upon my face and one upon the 
pillow. They spattered, liquidly, and felt warm. 
Intuition told me they had turned to gouts of blood 
as they fell I needed no light to satisfy myself of 
that. Then I saw pallid faces, dimly luminous, and 
white uplifted hands, floating bodiless in the air 
floating a moment and then disappearing. The 
whispering ceased, and the voices and the sounds, 
and a solemn stillness followed. I waited and 
listened. I felt that I must have light or die. I 
was weak with fear. I slowly raised myself toward 
a sitting posture, and my face came in contact with 

260 



A GHOST STORY 

a clammy hand! All strength went from me ap- 
parently, and I fell back like a stricken invalid. 
Then I heard the rustle of a garment it seemed to 
pass to the door and go out. 

When everything was still once more, I crept out 
of bed, sick and feeble, and lit the gas with a hand 
that trembled as if it were aged with a hundred 
years. The light brought some little cheer to my 
spirits. I sat down and fell into a dreamy contem- 
plation of that great footprint in the ashes. By and 
by its outlines began to waver and grow dim. I 
glanced up and the broad gas-flame was slowly wilt- 
ing away. In the same moment I heard that ele- 
phantine tread again. I noted its approach, nearer 
and nearer, along the musty halls, and dimmer and 
dimmer the light waned. The tread reached my 
very door and paused the light had dwindled to a 
sickly blue, and all things about me lay in a spectral 
twilight. The door did not open, and yet I felt a 
faint gust of air fan my cheek, and presently was 
conscious of a huge, cloudy presence before me. I 
watched it with fascinated eyes. A pale glow stole 
over the Thing; gradually its cloudy folds took 
shape an arm appeared, then legs, then a body, 
and last a great sad face looked out of the vapor. 
Stripped of its filmy housings, naked, muscular and 
comely, the majestic Cardiff Giant loomed above me ! 

All my misery vanished for a child might know 
that no harm could come with that benignant 
countenance. My cheerful spirits returned at once, 
and in sympathy with them the gas flamed up 
brightly again. Never a lonely outcast was so glad 

261 



MARK TWAIN 

to welcome company as I was to greet the friendly 
giant. I said: 

"Why, is it nobody but you? Do you know, I 
have been scared to death for the last two or three 
hours? I am most honestly glad to see you. I 
wish I had a chair Here, here, don't try to sit 
down in that thing ! 

But it was too late. He was in it before I could 
stop him, and down he went I never saw a chair 
shivered so in my life. 

"Stop, stop, you'll ruin ev " 

Too late again. There was another crash, and 
another chair was resolved into its original elements. 

"Confound it, haven't you got any judgment at 
all? Do you want to ruin all the furniture on the 
place? Here, here, you petrified fool " 

But it was no use. Before I could arrest him he 
had sat down on the bed, and it was a melancholy 
ruin. 

"Now what sort of a way is that to do? First 
you come lumbering about the place bringing a 
legion of vagabond goblins along with you to worry 
me to death, and then when I overlook an indelicacy 
of costume which would not be tolerated anywhere 
by cultivated people except in a respectable theater, 
and not even there if the nudity were of your sex, 
you repay me by wrecking all the furniture you can 
find to sit down on. And why will you? You 
damage yourself as much as you do me. You have 
broken off the end of your spinal column, and lit- 
tered up the floor with chips of your hams till the 
place looks like a marble yard. You ought to be 

262 



A GHOST STORY 

ashamed of yourself you are big enough to know 
better." 

"Well, I will not break any more furniture. But 
what am I to do? I have not had a chance to sit 
down for a century." And the tears came into his 
eyes. 

"Poor devil," I said, "I should not have been so 
harsh with you. And you are an orphan, too, no 
doubt. But sit down on the floor here nothing 
else can stand your weight and besides, we cannot 
be sociable with you away up there above me; I 
want you down where I can perch on this high 
counting-house stool and gossip with you face to face. ' ' 

So he sat down on the floor, and lit a pipe which 
I gave him, threw one of my red blankets over his 
shoulders, inverted my sitz-bath on his head, helmet 
fashion, and made himself picturesque and comfort- 
able. Then he crossed his ankles, while I renewed 
the fire, and exposed the flat, honeycombed bottoms 
of his prodigious feet to the grateful warmth. 

"What is the matter with the bottom of your 
feet and the back of your legs, that they are gouged 
up so?" 

"Infernal chilblains I caught them clear up to 
the back of my head, roosting out there under 
NewelTs farm. But I love the place; I love it as 
one loves his old home. There is no peace for me 
like the peace I feel when I am there." 

We talked along for half an hour, and then I 
noticed that he looked tired, and spoke of it. 

"Tired?" he said. "Well, I should think so. 
And now I will tell you all about it, since you have 

263 



MARK TWAIN 

treated me so well. I am the spirit of the Petrified 
Man that lies across the street there in the museum. 
I am the ghost of the Cardiff Giant. I can have no 
rest, no peace, till they have given that poor body 
burial again. Now what was the most natural thing 
for me to do, to make men satisfy this wish ? Terrify 
them into it! haunt the place where the body lay! 
So I haunted the museum night after night. I even 
got other spirits to help me. But it did no good, 
for nobody ever came to the museum at midnight. 
Then it occurred to me to come over the way and 
haunt this place a little. I felt that if I ever got 
a hearing I must succeed, for I had the most efficient 
company that perdition could furnish. Night after 
night we have shivered around through these mil- 
dewed halls, dragging chains, groaning, whispering, 
tramping up and down stairs, till, to tell you the 
truth, I am almost worn out. But when I saw a 
light in your room to-night I roused my energies 
again and went at it with a deal of the old freshness. 
But I am tired out entirely fagged out. Give me, 
I beseech you, give me some hope!" 

I lit off my perch in a burst of excitement, and 
exclaimed : 

"This transcends everything! everything that ever 
did occur ! Why you poor blundering old fossil, you 
have had all your trouble for nothing you have 
been haunting a plaster cast of yourself the real 
Cardiff Giant is in Albany! 1 Confound it, don't 
you know your own remains?" 

1 A fact. The original fraud was ingeniously and fraudfully 
duplicated, and exhibited in New York as the "only genuine" 

264 



A GHOST STORY 

I never saw such an eloquent look of shame, 
of pitiable humiliation, overspread a countenance 
before. 

The Petrified Man rose slowly to his feet, and 
said: 

"Honestly, is that true?" 

"As true as I am sitting here." 

He took the pipe from his mouth and laid it on 
the mantel, then stood irresolute a moment (uncon- 
sciously, from old habit, thrusting his hands where 
his pantaloons pockets should have been, and medi- 
tatively dropping his chin on his breast), and finally 
said: 

"Well I never felt so absurd before. The Petri- 
fied Man has sold everybody else, and now the 
mean fraud has ended by selling its own ghost! 
My son, if there is any charity left in your heart for 
a poor friendless phantom like me, don't let this get 
out. Think how you would feel if you had made such 
an ass of yourself." 

I heard his stately tramp die away, step by step 
down the stairs and out into the deserted street, 
and felt sorry that he was gone, poor fellow and 
sorrier still that he had carried off my red blanket 
and my bath-tub. 

Cardiff Giant (to the unspeakable disgust of the owners of the real 
colossus) at the very same time that the latter was drawing crowds 
at a museum in Albany. 



THE CAPITOLINE VENUS 

CHAPTER I 
[ Scene An Artist's Studio in Rome.] 

OH, George, I do love you!" 
"Bless your dear heart, Mary, I know 
that why is your father so obdurate?" 

"George, he means well, but art is folly to him 
he only understands groceries. He thinks you would 
starve me." 

"Confound his wisdom it savors of inspiration. 
Why am I not a money-making bowelless grocer, 
instead of a divinely gifted sculptor with nothing 
to eat?" 

"Do not despond, Georgy, dear all his preju- 
dices will fade away as soon as you shall have 
acquired fifty thousand dol " 

"Fifty thousand demons! Child, I am in arrears 
for my board!" 

CHAPTER II 

[ Scene A Dwelling in Rome.] 

"My dear sir, it is useless to talk. I haven't 
anything against you, but I can't let my daughter 

266 



THE CAPITOLINE VENUS 

marry a hash of love, art, and starvation I believe 
you have nothing else to offer." 

"Sir, I am poor, I grant you. But is fame noth- 
ing? The Hon. Bellamy Foodie of Arkansas says 
that my new statue of America is a clever piece of 
sculpture, and he is satisfied that my name will one 
day be famous." 

"Bosh! What does that Arkansas ass know 
about it? Fame's nothing the market price of 
your marble scarecrow is the thing to look at. It 
took you six months to chisel it, and you can't sell 
it for a hundred dollars. No, sir! Show me fifty 
thousand dollars and you can have my daughter 
otherwise she marries young Simper. You have 
just six months to raise the money in. Good morn- 
ing, sir." 

"Alas! Woe is me!" 



CHAPTER III 

[Scene The Studio.] 

"Oh, John, friend of my boyhood, I am the un- 
happiest of men." 

"You're a simpleton!" 

"I have nothing left to love but my poor statue 
of America and see, even she has no sympathy 
for me in her cold marble countenance so beautiful 
and so heartless!" 

"You're a dummy!" 

"Oh, John!" 

267 



MARK TWAIN 

"Oh, fudge! Didn't you say you had six months 
to raise the money in?" 

"Don't deride my agony, John. If I had six 
centuries what good would it do? How could it 
help a poor wretch without name, capital, or 
friends?" 

"Idiot! Coward! Baby! Six months to raise the 
money in and five will do!" 

"Are you insane?" 

"Six months an abundance. Leave it to me. 
I'll raise it." 

"What do you mean, John? How on earth can 
you raise such a monstrous sum for me?" 

"Will you let that be my business, and not 
meddle? Will you leave the thing in my hands? 
Will you swear to submit to whatever I do? Will 
you pledge me to find no fault with my actions?" 

"I am dizzy bewildered but I swear." 

John took up a hammer and deliberately smashed 
the nose of America! He made another pass and 
two of her fingers fell to the floor another, and part 
of an ear came away another, and a row of toes 
was mangled and dismembered another, and the 
left leg, from the knee down, lay a fragmentary ruin ! 

John put on his hat and departed. 

George gazed speechless upon the battered and 
grotesque nightmare before him for the space of 
thirty seconds, and then wilted to the floor and went 
into convulsions. 

John returned presently with a carriage, got the 
broken-hearted artist and the broken-legged statue 
aboard, and drove off, whistling low and tranquilly. 

268 



THE CAPITOLINE VENUS 

He left the artist at his lodgings, and drove off 
and disappeared down the Via Quirinalis with the 
statue. 

CHAPTER IV 
[ Scene The Studio.] 

"The six months will be up at two o'clock to-day! 
Oh, agony! My life is blighted. I would that I 
were dead. I had no supper yesterday. I have 
had no breakfast to-day. I dare not enter an eating- 
house. And hungry? don't mention it ! My boot- 
maker duns me to death my tailor duns me my 
landlord haunts me. I am miserable. I haven't 
seen John since that awful day. She smiles on me 
tenderly when we meet in the great thoroughfares, 
but her old flint of a father makes her look in the 
other direction in short order. Now who is knock- 
ing at that door? Who is come to persecute me? 
That malignant villain the bootmaker, I'll warrant. 
Come in!" 

"Ah, happiness attend your highness Heaven be 
propitious to your grace ! I have brought my lord's 
new boots ah, say nothing about the pay, there is 
no hurry, none in the world. Shall be proud if my 
noble lord will continue to honor me with his custom 
ah, adieu!" 

"Brought the boots himself! Don't want his 
pay ! Takes his leave with a bow and a scrape fit to 
honor majesty withal ! Desires a continuance of my 
custom! Is the world coming to an end? Of all 
the come in!" 

269 



MARK TWAIN 

"Pardon, siguore, but I have brought your new 
suit of clothes for " 

" Come inl /" 

"A thousand pardons for this intrusion, your 
worship! But I have prepared the beautiful suite 
of rooms below for you this wretched den is but 
ill suited to " 

"ComeintI!" 

"I have called to say that your credit at our 
bank, some time since unfortunately interrupted, is 
entirely and most satisfactorily restored, and we 
shall be most happy if you will draw upon us for 
any" 

"COME IN I 1 ! I" 

"My noble boy, she is yours! She'll be here 
in a moment I Take her marry her love her 
be happy I God bless you both! Hip, hip, 
hur " 

"COME IN! 5 ! ! !" 

"Oh, George, my own darling, we are saved!" 

"Oh, Mary, my own darling, we are saved but 
1*11 swear I don't know why nor how!" 

CHAPTER V 
[ Scene A Roman Cafe".] 

One of a group of American gentlemen reads and 
translates from the weekly edition of // Slang- 
whanger di Roma as follows : 

WONDERFUL DISCOVERY! Some six months ago Signer John 
Smitthe, an American gentleman now some years a resident of 

270 



Rome, purchased for a trifle a small piece of ground In the Cam- 
pagna, just beyond the tomb of the Scipio family, from the 
owner, a bankrupt relative of the Princess Borghese. Mr. 
Smitthe afterward went to the Minister of the Pubilc Records 
and had the piece of ground transferred to a poor American 
artist named George Arnold, explaining that he did it as pay- 
ment and satisfaction for pecuniary damage accidentally done 
by him long since upon property belonging to Signor Arnold, 
and further observed that he would make additional satisfac- 
tion by improving the ground for Signor A., at his own charge 
and cost. Four weeks ago, while making some necessary ex- 
cavations upon the property, Signor Smitthe unearthed the most 
remarkable ancient statue that has ever been added to the 
opulent art treasures of Rome. It was an exquisite figure of a 
woman, and though sadly stained by the soil and the mold of 
ages, no eye can look unmoved upon its ravishing beauty. The 
nose, the left leg from the knee down, an ear, and also the toes 
of the right foot and two fingers of one of the hands were gone, 
but otherwise the noble figure was in a remarkable state of 
preservation. The government at once took military possession 
of the statue, and appointed a commission of art-critics, anti- 
quaries, and cardinal princes of the church to assess its value 
and determine the remuneration that must go to the owner of 
the ground in which it was found. The whole affair was kept 
a profound secret until last night. In the mean time the com- 
mission sat with closed doors 'and deliberated. Last night 
they decided unanimously that the statue is a Venus, and the 
work of some unknown but sublimely gifted artist of the third 
century before Christ. They consider it the most faultless work 
of art the world has any knowledge of. 

At midnight they held a final conference aad decided that 
the Venus was worth the enormous sum of ten million francs I 
In accordance with Roman law and Roman usage, the govern- 
ment being half-owner in all works of art found in the Cam- 
pagna, the State has naught to do but pay five million francs 
to Mr. Arnold and take permanent possession of the beautiful 
statue. This morning the Venus will be removed to the Capitol, 
there to remain, and at noon the commission will wait upon 
Signor Arnold with His Holiness the Pope's order upon the 
Treasury for the princely sum of five million f ranee In gold ! 

271 



MARK TWAIN 

Chorus of Voices. "Luck! It's no name for it!" 
Another Voice. "Gentlemen, I propose that we 
immediately form an American joint-stock company 
for the purchase of lands and excavations of statues 
here, with proper connections in Wall Street to bull 
and bear the stock." 
>!//. "Agreed," 



CHAPTER VI 
[Scene The Roman Capitol Ten Years Later.] 

"Dearest Mary, this is the most celebrated statue 
in the world. This is the renowned ' Capitoline 
Venus' you've heard so much about. Here she is 
with her little blemishes 'restored' (that is, patched) 
by the most noted Roman artists and the mere 
fact that they did the humble patching of so noble a 
creation will make their names illustrious while the 
world stands. How strange it seems this place! 
The day before I last stood here, ten happy years 
ago, I wasn't a rich man bless your soul, I hadn't 
a cent. And yet I had a good deal to do with 
making Rome mistress of this grandest work of 
ancient art the world contains." 

"The worshiped, the illustrious Capitoline Venus 
and what a sum she is valued at! Ten millions 
of francs!" 

"Yes now she is." 

"And oh, Georgy, how divinely beautiful she is!" 

"Ah, yes but nothing to what she was before 
that blessed John Smith broke her leg and battered 

272 



THE CAPITOLINE VENUS 

her nose. Ingenious Smith! gifted Smith! noble 
Smith! Author of all our bliss! Harkf Do you 
know what that wheeze means? Mary, that cub has 
got the whooping-cough. Will you never learn to 
take care of the children!" 



THE END 

The Capitoline Venus is still in the Capitol at 
Rome, and is still the most charming and most illus- 
trious work of ancient art the world can boast of. 
But if ever it shall be your fortune to stand before it 
and go into the customary ecstasies over it, don't 
permit this true and secret history of its origin to 
mar your bliss and when you read about a gigantic 
Petrified Man being dug up near Syracuse, in the 
State of New York, or near any other place, keep 
your own counsel and if the Barnum that buried 
him there offers to sell to you at an enormous sum, 
don't you buy. Send him to the Pope ! 

NOTE. The above sketch was written at the time the famous 
swindle of the "Petrified Giant" was the sensation of the day in the 
United States. 




DELIVERED IN HARTFORD, AT A DINNER TO CORNELIUS 
WALFORD, OF LONDON 

GENTLEMEN: I am glad, indeed, to assist in 
welcoming the distinguished guest of this occa- 
sion to a city whose fame as an insurance center 
has extended to all lands, and given us the name of 
being a quadruple band of brothers working sweetly 
hand in hand the Colt's Arms Company making the 
destruction of our race easy and convenient, our life- 
insurance citizens paying for the victims when they 
pass away, Mr. Batterson perpetuating their memory 
with his stately monuments, and our fire-insurance 
comrades taking care of their hereafter. I am glad 
to assist in welcoming our guest first, because he 
is an Englishman, and I owe a heavy debt of hos- 
pitality to certain of his fellow-countrymen; and 
secondly, because he is in sympathy with insurance 
and has been the means of making many other men 
cast their sympathies in the same direction. 

Certainly there is no nobler field for human effort 
than the insurance line of business especially acci- 
dent insurance. Ever since I have been a director 
in an accident-insurance company I have felt that I 

274 



SPEECH ON ACCIDENT INSURANCE 

am a better man. Life has seemed more precious. 
Accidents have assumed a kindlier aspect. Distress- 
ing special providences have lost half their horror. 
I look upon a cripple now with affectionate interest 
as an advertisement. I do not seem to care for 
poetry any more. I do not care for politics even 
agriculture does not excite me. But to me now 
there is a charm about a railway collision that is 
unspeakable. 

There is nothing more beneficent than accident 
insurance. I have seen an entire family lifted out of 
poverty and into affluence by the simple boon of a 
broken leg. I have had people come to me on 
crutches, with tears in their eyes, to bless this benef- 
icent institution. In all my experience of life, I 
have seen nothing so seraphic as the look that comes 
into a freshly mutilated man's face when he feels 
in his vest pocket with his remaining hand and finds 
his accident ticket all right. And I have seen noth- 
ing so sad as the look that came into another splin- 
tered customer's face when he found he couldn't 
collect on a wooden leg. 

I will remark here, by way of advertisement, that 
that noble charity which we have named the HART- 
FORD ACCIDENT INSURANCE COMPANY* is an insti- 
tution which is peculiarly to be depended upon. A 
man is bound to prosper who gives it his custom. 
No man can take out a policy in it and not get crip- 
pled before the year is out. Now there was one 
indigent man who had been disappointed so often 
with other companies that he had grown disheart- 

1 The speaker is a director of the company named. 
275 



MARK TWAIN 

ened, his appetite left him, he ceased to smile said 
life was but a weariness. Three weeks ago I got him 
to insure with us, and now he is the brightest, 
happiest spirit in this land has a good steady in- 
come and a stylish suit of new bandages every day, 
and travels around on a shutter. 

I will say, in conclusion, that my share of the 
welcome to our guest is none the less hearty because 
I talk so much nonsense, and I know that I can say 
the same for the rest of the speakers. 



JOHN CHINAMAN IN NEW YORK 

AS I passed along by one of those monster Amer- 
/"\ ican tea stores in New York, I found a China- 
man sitting before it acting in the capacity of a 
sign. Everybody that passed by gave him a steady 
stare as long as their heads would twist over their 
shoulders without dislocating their necks, and a 
group had stopped to stare deliberately. 

Is it not a shame that we, who prate so much 
about civilization and humanity, are content to de- 
grade a fellow-being to such an office as this? Is it 
not time for reflection when we find ourselves willing 
to see in such a being matter for frivolous curiosity 
instead of regret and grave reflection? Here was a 
poor creature whom hard fortune had exiled from his 
natural home beyond the seas, and whose troubles 
ought to have touched these idle strangers that 
thronged about him; but did it? Apparently not. 
Men calling themselves the superior race, the race 
of culture and of gentle blood, scanned his quaint 
Chinese hat, with peaked roof and ball on top, and 
his long queue dangling down his back; his short 
silken blouse, curiously frogged and figured (and, 
like the rest of his raiment, rusty, dilapidated, and 
awkwardly put on); his blue cotton, tight-legged 
pants, tied close around the ankles; and his clumsy 

277 



MARK TWAIN 

blunt-toed shoes with thick cork soles; and having 
so scanned him from head to foot, cracked some 
unseemly joke about his outlandish attire or his 
melancholy face, and passed on. In my heart I 
pitied the friendless Mongol. I wondered what was 
passing behind his sad face, and what distant scene 
his vacant eye was dreaming of. Were his thoughts 
with his heart, ten thousand miles away, beyond 
the billowy wastes of the Pacific? among the rice- 
fields and the plumy palms of China? under the shad- 
ows of remembered mountain peaks, or in groves of 
bloomy shrubs and strange forest trees unknown to 
climes like ours ? And now and then, rippling among 
his visions and his dreams, did he hear familiar 
laughter and half -forgotten voices, and did he catch 
fitful glimpses of the friendly faces of a bygone 
time? A cruel fate it is, I said, that is befallen this 
bronzed wanderer. In order that the group of idlers 
might be touched at least by the words of the poor 
fellow, since the appeal of his pauper dress and his 
dreary exile was lost upon them, I touched him on 
the shoulder and said : 

"Chesr up don't be downhearted. It is not 
America that treats you in this way, it is merely 
one citizen, whose greed of gain has eaten the 
humanity out of his heart. America has a broader 
hospitality for the exiled and oppressed. America 
and Americans are always ready to help the unfor- 
tunate. Money shall be raised you shall go back 
to China you shall see your friends again. What 
wages do they pay you here?" 

"Divil a cint but four dollars a week and find 

278 



JOHN CHINAMAN IN NEW YORK 

meself ; but it's aisy, barrin' the troublesome furrin 
clothes that's so expinsive." 

The exile remains at his post. The New York 
tea merchants who need picturesque signs are not 
likely to run out of Chinamen. 



HOW I EDITED AN AGRICUL- 
TURAL PAPER 1 

{DID not take temporary editorship of an agricul- 
tural paper without misgivings. Neither would 
a landsman take command of a ship without mis- 
givings. But I was in circumstances that made the 
salary an object. The regular editor of the paper 
was going off for a holiday, and I accepted the terms 
he offered, and took his place. 

The sensation of being at work again was luxuri- 
ous, and I wrought all the week with unflagging 
pleasure. We went to press, and I waited a day 
with some solicitude to see whether my effort was 
going to attract any notice. As I left the office, 
toward sundown, a group of men and boys at the 
foot of the stairs dispersed with one impulse, and 
gave me passageway, and I heard one or two of 
them say: "That's him!" I was naturally pleased 
by this incident. The next morning I found a 
similar group at the foot of the stairs, and scattering 
couples and individuals standing here and there in 
the street and over the way, watching me with 
interest. The group separated and fell back as I 
approached, and I heard a man say, "Look at his 
eye!" I pretended not to observe the notice I was 

'Written about 1870. 
280 



EDITING AN AGRICULTURAL PAPER 

attracting, but secretly I was pleased with it, and 
was purposing to write an account of it to my aunt. 
I went up the short flight of stairs, and heard cheery 
voices and a ringing laugh as I drew near the door, 
which I opened, and caught a glimpse of two young 
rural-looking men, whose faces blanched and length- 
ened when they saw me, and then they both plunged 
through the window with a great crash. I was 
surprised. 

In about half an hour an old gentleman, with a 
flowing beard and a fine but rather austere face, 
entered, and sat down at my invitation. He seemed 
to have something on his mind. He took off his 
hat and set it on the floor, and got out of it a red 
silk handkerchief and a copy of our paper. 

He put the paper on his lap, and while he polished 
his spectacles with his handkerchief he said, "Are 
you the new editor?" 

I said I was. 

"Have you ever edited an agricultural paper 
before?" 

"No," I said; "this is my first attempt." 

"Very likely. Have you had any experience in 
agriculture practically?" 

"No; I believe I have not." 

"Some instinct told me so," said the old gentle- 
man, putting on his spectacles, and looking over 
them at me with asperity, while he folded his paper 
into a convenient shape. "I wish to read you 
what must have made me have that instinct. It 
was this editorial. Listen, and see if it was you that 
wrote it: 

281 



MARK TWAIN 

" 'Turnips should never be pulled, it injures them. It is muk 
better to send a boy up and let him shake the tree.' 



"Now, what do you think of that? for I really 
suppose you wrote it?" 

"Think of it? Why, I think it is good. I think 
it is sense. I have no doubt that every year millions 
and millions of bushels of turnips are spoiled in this 
township alone by being pulled in a half -ripe con- 
dition, when, if they had sent a boy up to shake 
the tree" 

"Shake your grandmother! Turnips don't grow 
on trees!" 

' ' Oh, they don't, don't they ? Well, who said they 
did? The language was intended to be figurative, 
wholly figurative. Anybody that knows anything 
will know that I meant that the boy should shake 
the vine." 

Then this old person got up and tore his paper 
all into small shreds, and stamped on them, and 
broke several things with his cane, and said I did not 
know as much as a cow; and then went out and 
banged the door after him, and, in short, acted in 
such a way that I fancied he was displeased about 
something. But not knowing what the trouble was, 
I could not be any help to him. 

Pretty soon after this a long, cadaverous creature, 
with lanky locks hanging down to his shoulders, and 
a week's stubble bristling from the hills and valleys 
of his face, darted within the door, and halted, 
motionless, with finger on lip, and head and body 
bent in listening attitude. No sound was heard. 

282 



EDITING AN AGRICULTURAL PAPER 

Still he listened. No sound. Then he turned the key 
in the door, and came elaborately tiptoeing toward 
me till he was within long reaching distance of me, 
when he stopped and, after scanning my face with 
intense interest for a while, drew a folded copy of 
our paper from his bosom, and said : 

"There, you wrote that. Read it to me quick! 
Relieve me. I suffer." 

I read as follows; and as the sentences fell from 
my lips I could see the relief come, I could see the 
drawn muscles relax, and the anxiety go out of the 
face, and rest and peace steal over the features like 
the merciful moonlight over a desolate landscape: 

The guano is a fine bird, but great care is necessary in rear- 
ing it. It should not be imported earlier than June or later than 
September. In the winter it should be kept in a warm place, 
where it can hatch out its young. 

It is evident that we are to have a backward season for grain. 
Therefore it will be well for the farmer to begin setting out his 
corn-stalks and planting his buckwheat cakes in July instead of 
August. 

Concerning the pumpkin. This berry is a favorite with 
the natives of the interior of New England, who prefer it to the 
gooseberry for the making of fruit-cake, and who likewise give 
it the preference over the raspberry for feeding cows, as being 
more filling and fully as satisfying. The pumpkin is the only 
esculent of the orange family that will thrive in the North, ex- 
cept the gourd and one or two varieties of the squash. But the 
custom of planting it in the front yard with the shrubbery is 
fast going out of vogue, for it is now generally conceded that 
the pumpkin as a shade tree is a failure. 

Now, as the warm weather approaches, and the ganders be- 
gin to spawn 

The excited listener sprang toward me to shake 
hands, and said: 

283 



MARK TWAIN 

"There, there that will do. I know I am all 
right now, because you have read it just as I did, 
word for word. But, stranger, when I first read it 
this morning, I said to myself, I never, never be- 
lieved it before, notwithstanding my friends kept me 
under watch so strict, but now I believe I am crazy ; 
and with that I fetched a howl that you might have 
heard two miles, and started out to kill somebody 
because, you know, I knew it would come to that 
sooner or later, and so I might as well begin. I read 
one of them paragraphs over again, so as to be 
certain, and then I burned my house down and 
started. I have crippled several people, and have 
got one fellow up a tree, where I can get him if I 
want him. But I thought I would call in here as 
I passed along and make the thing perfectly certain ; 
and now it is certain, and I tell you it is lucky for 
the chap that is in the tree. I should have killed 
him sure, as I went back. Good-by, sir, good-by; 
you have taken a great load off my mind. My 
reason has stood the strain of one of your agricul- 
tural articles, and I know that nothing can ever 
unseat it now. Good-by, sir." 

I felt a little uncomfortable about the cripplings 
and arsons this person had been entertaining himself 
with, for I could not help feeling remotely accessory 
to them. But these thoughts were quickly banished, 
for the regular editor walked in! [I thought to 
myself, Now if you had gone to Egypt as I recom- 
mended you to, I might have had a chance to get my 
hand in; but you wouldn't do it, and here you are. 
I sort of expected you.] 

284 



EDITING AN AGRICULTURAL PAPER 

The editor was looking sad and perplexed and 
dejected. 

He surveyed the wreck which that old rioter and 
those two young farmers had made, and then said : 
"This is a sad business a very sad business. 
There is the mucilage-bottle broken, and six panes 
of glass, and a spittoon, and two candlesticks. But 
that is not the worst. The reputation of the paper 
is injured and permanently, I fear. True, there 
never was such a call for the paper before, and it 
never sold such a large edition or soared to such 
celebrity; but does one want to be famous for 
lunacy, and prosper upon the infirmities of his 
mind? My friend, as I am an honest man, the 
street out here is full of people, and others are 
roosting on the fences, waiting to get a glimpse of 
you, because they think you are crazy. And well 
they might after reading your editorials. They are 
a disgrace to journalism. Why, what put it into 
your head that you could edit a paper of this nature ? 
You do not seem to know the first rudiments of 
agriculture. You speak of a furrow and a harrow 
as being the same thing; you talk of the moulting 
season for cows; and you recommend the domesti- 
cation of the pole-cat on account of its playfulness 
and its excellence as a ratter! Your remark that 
clams will lie quiet if music be played to them was 
superfluous entirely superfluous. Nothing disturbs 
clams. Clams always lie quiet. Clams care noth- 
ing whatever about music. Ah, heavens and earth, 
friend! if you had made the acquiring of ignorance 
the study of your life, you could not have graduated 

285 



MARK TWAIN 

with higher honor than you could to-day. I never 
saw anything like it. Your observation that the 
horse-chestnut as an article of commerce is steadily 
gaining in favor is simply calculated to destroy this 
journal. I want you to throw up your situation and 
go. I want no more holiday I could not enjoy 
it if I had it. Certainly not with you in my chair. 
I would always stand in dread of what you might 
be going to recommend next. It makes me lose all 
patience every time I think of your discussing 
oyster-beds under the head of 'Landscape Garden- 
ing.' I want you to go. Nothing on earth could 
persuade me to take another holiday. Oh! why 
didn't you tell me you didn't know anything about 
agriculture?" 

"Tell you, you corn-stalk, you cabbage, you son 
of a cauliflower? It's the first time I ever heard 
such an unfeeling remark. I tell you I have been 
in the editorial business going on fourteen years, 
and it is the first time I ever heard of a man's 
having to know anything in order to edit a news- 
paper. You turnip! Who write the dramatic cri- 
tiques for the second-rate papers? Why, a parcel of 
promoted shoemakers and apprentice apothecaries, 
who know just as much about good acting as I do 
about good farming and no more. Who review the 
books? People who never wrote one. Who do up 
the heavy leaders on finance ? Parties who have had 
the largest opportunities for knowing nothing about 
it. Who criticize the Indian campaigns? Gentle- 
men who do not know a war-whoop from a wigwam, 
and who never have had to run a foot-race with a 

286 



EDITING AN AGRICULTURAL PAPER 

tomahawk, or pluck arrows out of the several mem- 
bers of their families to build the evening camp-fire 
with. Who write the temperance appeals, and 
clamor about the flowing bowl? Folks who will 
never draw another sober breath till they do it in 
the grave. Who edit the agricultural papers, you 
yam? Men, as a general thing, who fail in the 
poetry line, yellow-colored novel line, sensation- 
drama line, city-editor line, and finally fall back on 
agriculture as a temporary reprieve from the poor- 
house. You try to tell me anything about the news- 
paper business! Sir, I have been through it from 
Alpha to Omaha, and I tell you that the less a man 
knows the bigger the noise he makes and the higher 
the salary he commands. Heaven knows if I had 
but been ignorant instead of cultivated, and im- 
pudent instead of diffident, I could have made a 
name for myself in this cold, selfish world. I take 
my leave, sir. Since I have been treated as you have 
treated me, I am perfectly willing to go. But I have 
done my duty. I have fulfilled my contract as far 
as I was permitted to do it. I said I could make 
your paper of interest to all classes and I have. 
I said I could run your circulation up to twenty 
thousand copies, and if I had had two more weeks 
I'd have done it. And I'd have given you the best 
class of readers that ever an agricultural paper had 
not a farmer in it, nor a solitary individual who 
could tell a watermelon-tree from a peach-vine to 
save his life. You are the loser by this rupture, not 
me, Pie-plant. Adios" 
I then left. 

287 



THE PETRIFIED MAN 

NOW, to show how really hard it is to foist a 
moral or a truth upon an unsuspecting public 
through a burlesque without entirely and absurdly 
missing one's mark, I will here set down two expe- 
riences of my own in this thing. In the fall of 1862, 
in Nevada and California, the people got to running 
wild about extraordinary petrifactions and other 
natural marvels. One could scarcely pick up a paper 
without finding in it one or two glorified discoveries 
of this kind. The mania was becoming a little ridic- 
ulous. I was a brand-new local editor in Virginia 
City, and I felt called upon to destroy this growing 
evil ; we all have our benignant, fatherly moods at one 
time or another, I suppose. I chose to kill the petri- 
faction mania with a delicate, a very delicate satire. 
But maybe it was altogether too delicate, for nobody 
ever perceived the satire part of it at all. I put my 
scheme in the shape of the discovery of a remarkably 
petrified man. 

I had had a temporary falling out with Mr. , 

the new coroner and justice of the peace of Hum- 
boldt, and thought I might as well touch him up a 
little at the same time and make him ridiculous, and 
thus combine pleasure with business. So I told, in 
patient, belief -compelling detail, all about the finding 

288 



THE PETRIFIED MAN 

of a petrified man at Gravelly Ford (exactly a hun- 
dred and twenty miles, over a breakneck mountain 
trail from where - - lived) ; how all the savants of 
the immediate neighborhood had been to examine 
it (it was notorious that there was not a living 
creature within fifty miles of there, except a few 
starving Indians, some crippled grasshoppers, and 
four or five buzzards out of meat and too feeble to 
get away); how those savants all pronounced the 
petrified man to have been in a state of complete 
petrifaction for over ten generations ; and then, with 
a seriousness that I ought to have been ashamed to 

assume, I stated that as soon as Mr. heard the 

news he summoned a jury, mounted his mule, and 
posted off, with noble reverence for official duty, on 
that awful five days' journey, through alkali, sage- 
brush, peril of body, and imminent starvation, to 
hold an inquest on this man that had been dead and 
turned to everlasting stone for more than three hun- 
dred years! And then, my hand being "in," so to 
speak, I went on, with the same unflinching gravity, 
to state that the jury returned a verdict that deceased 
came to his death from protracted exposure. This 
only moved me to higher flights of imagination, and 
I said that the jury, with that charity so character- 
istic of pioneers, then dug a grave, and were about 
to give the petrified man Christian burial, when they 
found that for ages a limestone sediment had been 
trickling down the face of the stone against which 
he was sitting, and this stuff had run under him and 
cemented him fast to the "bed-rock"; that the jury 
(they were all silver-miners) canvassed the difficulty 

289 



MARK TWAIN 

a moment, and then got out their powder and fuse, 
and proceeded to drill a hole under him, in order 

to blast him from his position, when Mr. , "with 

that delicacy so characteristic of him, forbade them, 
observing that it would be little less than sacrilege 
to do such a thing." 

From beginning to end the "Petrified Man" 
squib was a string of roaring absurdities, albeit they 
were told with an unfair pretense of truth that even 
imposed upon me to some extent, and I was in some 
danger of believing in my own fraud. But I really 
had no desire to deceive anybody, and no expecta- 
tion of doing it. I depended on the way the petri- 
fied man was sitting to explain to the public that he 
was a swindle. Yet I purposely mixed that up with 
other things, hoping to make it obscure and I 
did. I would describe the position of one foot, and 
then say his right thumb was against the side of his 
nose; then talk about his other foot, and presently 
come back and say the fingers of his right hand were 
spread apart ; then talk about the back of his head a 
little, and return and say the left thumb was hooked 
into the right little finger; then ramble off about 
something else, and by and by drift back again and 
remark that the fingers of the left hand were spread 
like those of the right. But I was too ingenious. I 
mixed it up rather too much; and so all that de- 
scription of the attitude, as a key to the humbuggery 
of the article, was entirely lost, for nobody but 
me ever discovered and comprehended the pe- 
culiar and suggestive position of the petrified man's 
hands. 

290 



THE PETRIFIED MAN 

As a satire on the petrifaction mania, or anything 
else, my Petrified Man was a disheartening failure; 
for everybody received him in innocent good faith, 
and I was stunned to see the creature I had begotten 
to pull down the wonder-business with, and bring 
derision upon it, calmly exalted to the grand chief 
place in the list of the genuine marvels our Nevada 
had produced. I was so disappointed at the curious 
miscarriage of my scheme, that at first I was angry, 
and did not like to think about it; but by and by, 
when the exchanges began to come in with the 
Petrified Man copied and guilelessly glorified, I 
began to feel a soothing secret satisfaction; and as 
my gentleman's field of travels broadened, and by 
the exchanges I saw that he steadily and implacably 
penetrated territory after territory, state after state, 
and land after land, till he swept the great globe and 
culminated in sublime and unimpeached legitimacy 
in the august London Lancet, my cup was full, and 
I said I was glad I had done it. I think that for 
about eleven months, as nearly as I can remember, 

Mr. 's daily mail-bag continued to be swollen 

by the addition of half a bushel of newspapers hail- 
ing from many climes with the Petrified Man in 
them, marked around with a prominent belt of ink. 
I sent them to him. I did it for spite, not for fun. 
He used to shovel them into his back yard and 
curse. And every day during all those months the 
miners, his constituents (for miners never quit joking 
a person when they get started), would call on him 
and ask if he could tell them where they could get 
hold of a paper with the Petrified Man in it. He 

291 



MARK TWAIN 

could have accommodated a continent with them. 

I hated in those days, and these things 

pacified me and pleased me. I could not have 
gotten more real comfort out of him without kill- 
ing him,. 



MY BLOODY MASSACRE 

THE other burlesque I have referred to was my 
fine satire upon the financial expedients of 
"cooking dividends," a thing which became shame- 
fully frequent on the Pacific coast for a while. Once 
more, in my self-complacent simplicity I felt that 
the time had arrived for me to rise up and be a re- 
former. I put this reformatory satire in the shape 
of a fearful "Massacre at Empire City." The San 
Francisco papers were making a great outcry about 
the iniquity of the Daney Silver-Mining Company, 
whose directors had declared a "cooked" or false 
dividend, for the purpose of increasing the value of 
their stock, so that they could sell out at a comfort- 
able figure, and then scramble from under the tum- 
bling concern. And while abusing the Daney, those 
papers did not forget to urge the public to get rid 
of all their silver stocks and invest in sound and safe 
San Francisco stocks, such as the Spring Valley 
Water Company, etc. But right at this unfortunate 
juncture, behold the Spring Valley cooked a dividend 
too! And so, under the insidious mask of an in- 
vented "bloody massacre," I stole upon the public 
unawares with my scathing satire upon the dividend- 
cooking system. In about half a column of im- 
aginary human carnage I told bow a citizen had 

*93 



MARK TWAIN 

murdered his wife and nine children, and then 
committed suicide. And I said slyly, at the bottom, 
that the sudden madness of which this melancholy 
massacre was the result had been brought about 
by his having allowed himself to be persuaded by 
the California papers to sell his sound and lucrative 
Nevada silver stocks, and buy into Spring Valley 
just in time to get cooked along with that company's 
fancy dividend, and sink every cent he had in the 
world. 

Ah, it was a deep, deep satire, and most ingeni- 
ously contrived. But I made the horrible details so 
carefully and conscientiously interesting that the 
public devoured them greedily, and wholly over- 
looked the following distinctly stated facts, to wit: 
The murderer was perfectly well known to every 
creature in the land as a bachelor, and consequently 
he could not murder his wife and nine children; he 
murdered them "in his splendid dressed-stone man- 
sion just in the edge of the great pine forest between 
Empire City and Dutch Nick's," when even the very 
pickled oysters that came on our tables knew that 
there was not a "dressed-stone mansion" in all 
Nevada Territory; also that, so far from there being 
a "great pine forest between Empire City and 
Dutch Nick's," there wasn't a solitary tree within 
fifteen miles of either place; and, finally, it was 
patent and notorious that Empire City and Dutch 
Nick's were one and the same place, and contained 
only six houses anyhow, and consequently there 
could be no forest between them; and on top of all 
these absurdities I stated that this diabolical mur- 

294 



MY BLOODY MASSACRE 

derer, after inflicting a wound upon himself that the 
reader ought to have seen would kill an elephant in 
the twinkling of an eye, jumped on his horse and 
rode jour miles, waving his wife's reeking scalp in 
the air, and thus performing entered Carson City 
with tremendous tclat, and dropped dead in front of 
the chief saloon, the envy and admiration of all 
beholders. 

Well, in all my life I never saw anything like the 
sensation that little satire created. It was the talk 
of the town, it was the talk of the territory. Most 
of the citizens dropped gently into it at breakfast, 
and they never finished their meal. There was 
something about those minutely faithful details that 
was a sufficing substitute for food. Few people that 
were able to read took food that morning. Dan and 
I (Dan was my reportorial associate) took our seats 
on either side of our customary table in the "Eagle 
Restaurant," and, as I unfolded the shred they used 
to call a napkin in that establishment, I saw at the 
next table two stalwart innocents with that sort of 
vegetable dandruff sprinkled about their clothing 
which was the sign and evidence that they were in 
from the Truckee with a load of hay. The one 
facing me had the morning paper folded to a long, 
narrow strip, and I knew, without any telling, that 
that strip represented the column that contained my 
pleasant financial satire. From the way he was ex- 
citedly mumbling, I saw that the heedless son of a 
hay-mow was skipping with all his might, in order 
to get to the bloody details as quickly as possible; 
and so he was missing the guide-boards I had set up 

295 



MARK TWAIN 

to warn him that the whole thing was a fraud. 
Presently his eyes' spread wide open, just as his 
jaws swung asunder to take in a potato approaching 
it on a fork; the potato halted, the face lit up redly, 
and the whole man was on fire with excitement. 
Then he broke into a disjointed checking off of the 
particulars his potato cooling in mid-air meantime, 
and his mouth making a reach for it occasionally, 
but always bringing up suddenly against a new and 
still more direful performance of my hero. At last 
he looked his stunned and rigid comrade impressively 
in the face, and said, with an expression of concen- 
trated awe: 

"Jim, he b'iled his baby, and he took the old 
'oman's skelp. Cuss'd if I want any breakfast!" 

And he laid his lingering potato reverently down, 
and he and his friend departed from the restaurant 
empty but satisfied. 

He never got down to where the satire part of it 
began. Nobody ever did. They found the thrilling 
particulars sufficient. To drop in with a poor little 
moral at the fag-end of such a gorgeous massacre 
was like following the expiring sun with a can- 
dle and hope to attract the world's attention 
to it. 

The idea that anybody could ever take my massa- 
cre for a genuine occurrence never once suggested 
itself to me, hedged about as it was by all those tell- 
tale absurdities and impossibilities concerning the 
"great pine forest," the "dressed-stone mansion," 
etc. But I found out then, and never have for- 
gotten since, that we never read the dull explanatory 

296 



MY BLOODY MASSACRE 

surroundings of marvelously exciting things when we 
have no occasion to suppose that some irresponsible 
scribbler is trying to defraud us; we skip all that, 
and hasten to revel in the blood-curdling particulars 
and be happy, 



THE UNDERTAKER'S CHAT 



that corpse," said the undertaker, patting 
the folded hands of deceased approvingly, 
"was a brick every way you took him he was a 
brick. He was so real accommodating, and so 
modest-like and simple in his last moments. Friends 
wanted metallic burial-case nothing else would do. 
/ couldn't get it. There warn't going to be time 
anybody could see that. 

"Corpse said never mind, shake him up some 
kind of a box he could stretch out in comfortable, 
he warn't particular 'bout the general style of it. 
Said he went more on room than style, anyway in a 
last final container. 

"Friends wanted a silver door-plate on the coffin, 
signifying who he was and wher' he was from. 
Now you know a fellow couldn't roust out such a 
gaily thing as that in a little country-town like this. 
What did corpse say? 

"Corpse said, whitewash his old canoe and dob 
his address and general destination onto it with a 
blacking - brush and a stencil-plate, 'long with aj 
verse from some likely hymn or other, and p'int; 
him for the tomb, and mark him C. O. D., and just' 
let him flicker. He warn't distressed any more than; 
you be on the contrary, just as ca'm and collectedj 

298 



THE UNDERTAKER'S CHAT 

as a hearse-horse; said he judged that wher* he was 
going to a body would find it considerable better to 
attract attention by a picturesque moral character 
than a natty burial-case with a swell door-plate on it. 

"Splendid man, he was. I'd druther do for a 
corpse like that 'n any I've tackled in seven year. 
There's some satisfaction in buryin' a man like that. 
You feel that what you're doing is appreciated. 
Lord bless you, so's he got planted before he 
sp'iled, he was perfectly satisfied; said his relations 
meant well, perfectly well, but all them preparations 
was bound to delay the thing more or less, and he 
didn't wish to be kept layin' around. You never 
see such a clear head as what he had and so ca'm 
and so cool. Jist a hunk of brains that is what 
he was. Perfectly awful. It was a ripping distance 
from one end of that man's head to t'other. Often 
and over again he's had brain-fever a-raging in one 
place, and the rest of the pile didn't know anything 
about it didn't affect it any more than an Injun 
insurrection in Arizona affects the Atlantic States. 

"Well, the relations they wanted a big funeral, 
but corpse said he was down on flummery didn't 
want any procession fill the hearse full of mourn- 
ers, and get out a stern line and tow him behind. 
He was the most down on style of any remains I 
ever struck. A beautiful, simple-minded creature 
it was what he was, you can depend on that. He 
was just set on having things the way he wanted 
them, and he took a solid comfort in laying his little 
plans. He had me measure him and take a whole 
raft of directions ; then he had the minister stand up 

299 



MARK TWAIN 

behind a long box with a table-cloth over it, to 
represent the coffin, and read his funeral sermon, 
saying 'Angcore, angcore!' at the good places, and 
making him scratch out every bit of brag about him, 
and all the hifalutin; and then he made them trot 
out the choir, so's he could help them pick out the 
tunes for the occasion, and he got them to sing 
'Pop Goes the Weasel,' because he'd always liked 
that tune when he was downhearted, and solemn 
music made him sad; and when they sung that with 
tears in their eyes (because they all loved him), and 
his relations grieving around, he just laid there as 
happy as a bug, and trying to beat time and show- 
ing all over how much he enjoyed it; and presently 
he got worked up and excited, and tried to join in, 
for, mind you, he was pretty proud of his abilities 
in the singing line; but the first time he opened his 
mouth and was just going to spread himsel his 
breath took a walk. 

"I never see a man snuffed out so sudden. Ah, 
it was a great loss a powerful loss to this poor 
little one-horse town. Well, well, well, I hain't got 
time to be palavering along here got to nail on the 
lid and mosey along with him; and if you'll just give 
me a lift we'll skeet him into the hearse and meander 
along. Relations bound to have it so don't pay 
no attention to dying injunctions, minute a corpse's 
gone; but, if I had my way, if I didn't respect his 
last wishes and tow him behind the hearse I'll be 
cuss'd. I consider that whatever a corpse wants 
done for his comfort is little enough matter, and a 
man hain't got no right to deceive him or take ad- 

300 



THE UNDERTAKER'S CHAT 

vantage of him; and whatever a corpse trusts me to 
do I'm a-going to do, you know, even if it's to stuff 
him and paint him yaller and keep him for a keep- 
sake you hear me!" 

He cracked his whip and went lumbering away 
with his ancient ruin of a hearse, and I continued 
my walk with a valuable lesson learned that a 
healthy and wholesome cheerfulness is not neces- 
sarily impossible to any occupation. The lesson is 
likely to be lasting, for it will take many months to 
obliterate the memory of the remarks and circum- 
stances that impressed 't 



CONCERNING CHAMBERMAIDS 

ArAINST all chambermaids, of whatsoever age 
or nationality, I launch the curse of bachelor- 
dom! Because: 

They always put the pillows at the opposite end 
of the bed from the gas-burner, so that while you 
read and smoke before sleeping (as is the ancient 
and honored custom of bachelors), you have to hold 
your book aloft, in an uncomfortable position, to 
keep the light from dazzling your eyes. 

When they find the pillows removed to the other 
end of the bed in the morning, they receive not the 
suggestion in a friendly spirit ; but, glorying in their 
absolute sovereignty, and unpitying your helpless- 
ness, they make the bed just as it was originally, 
and gloat in secret over the pang their tyranny will 
cause you. 

Always after that, when they find you have trans- 
posed the pillows, they undo your work, and thus 
defy and seek to embitter the life that God has given 
you. 

If they cannot get the light in an inconvenient 
position any other way, they move the bed. 

If you pull your trunk out six inches from the 
wall, so that the lid will stay up when you open it, 
they always shove that trunk back again. They do 
it on purpose, 

302 



CONCERNING CHAMBERMAIDS 

If you want the spittoon in a certain spot, where 
it will be handy, they don't, and so they move it. 

They always put your other boots into inaccessible 
places. They chiefly enjoy depositing them as far 
under the bed as the wall will permit. It is because 
this compels you to get down in an undignified atti- 
tude and make wild sweeps for them in the dark with 
the bootjack, and swear. 

They always put the matchbox in some other 
place. They hunt up a new place for it every day, 
and put up a bottle, or other perishable glass thing, 
where the box stood before. This is to cause you 
to break that glass thing, groping in the dark, and 
get yourself into trouble. 

They are for ever and ever moving the furniture. 
When you come in in the night you can calculate 
on finding the bureau where the wardrobe was in the 
morning. And when you go out in the morning, if 
you leave the slop-bucket by the door and rocking- 
chair by the window, when you come in at midnight 
or thereabout, you will fall over that rocking-chair, 
and you will proceed toward the window and sit down 
in that slop-tub. This will disgust you. They like that. 

No matter where you put anything, they are not 
going to let it stay there. They will take it and 
move it the first chance they get. It is their nature. 
And, besides, it gives them pleasure to be mean and 
contrary this way. They would die if they couldn't 
be villains. 

They always save up all the old scraps of printed 
rubbish you throw on the floor, and stack them up 
carefully on the table, and start the fire with your 

303 



MARK TWAIN 

valuable manuscripts. If there is any one particular 
old scrap that you are more down on than any other, 
and which you are gradually wearing your life out 
trying to get rid of, you may take all the pains you 
possibly can in that direction, but it won't be of any 
use, because they will always fetch that old scrap 
back and put it in the same old place again every 
time. It does them good. 

And they use up more hair-oil than any six men. 
If charged with purloining the same, they lie about 
it. What do they care about a hereafter? Abso- 
lutely nothing. 

If you leave the key in the door for convenience' 
sake, they will carry it down to the office and give it 
to the clerk. They do this under the vile pretense 
of trying to protect your property from thieves ; but 
actually they do it because they want to make you 
tramp back down-stairs after it when you come home 
tired, or put you to the trouble of sending a waiter 
for it, which waiter will expect you to pay him 
something. In which case I suppose the degraded 
creatures divide. 

They keep always trying to make your bed before 
you get up, thus destroying your rest and inflicting 
agony upon you; but after you get up, they don't 
come any more till next day. 

They do all the mean things they can think of, 
and they do them just out of pure cussedness, and 
nothing else. 

Chambermaids are dead to every human instinct. 

If I can get a bill through the legislature abolishing 
chambermaids, I mean to do it. 

304 



AURELIA'S UNFORTUNATE 
YOUNG MAN 1 

HPHE facts in the following case came to me by 
1 letter from a young lady who lives in the 
beautiful city of San Jose; she is perfectly unknown 
to me, and simply signs herself "Aurelia Maria," 
which may possibly be a fictitious name. But no 
matter, the poor girl is almost heartbroken by the 
misfortunes she has undergone, and so confused by 
the conflicting counsels of misguided friends and 
insidious enemies that she does not know what 
course to pursue in order to extricate herself from the 
web of difficulties in which she seems almost hope- 
lessly involved. In this dilemma she turns to me for 
help, and supplicates for my guidance and instruction 
with a moving eloquence that would touch the heart 
of a statue. Hear her sad story : 

She says that when she was sixteen years old she 
met and loved, with all the devotion of a passionate 
nature, a young man from New Jersey, named 
Williamson Breckinridge Caruthers, who was some 
six years her senior. They were engaged, with the 
free consent of their friends and relatives, and for a 
time it seemed as if their career was destined to be 
characterized by an immunity from sorrow beyond 
the usual lot of humanity. But at last the tide of 
'Written about 1865. 
305 



MARK TWAIN 

fortune turned; young Caruthers became infected 
with smallpox of the most virulent type, and when 
he recovered from his illness his face was pitted 
like a waffle-mold, and his comeliness gone forever. 
Aurelia thought to break off the engagement at first, 
but pity for her unfortunate lover caused her to 
postpone the marriage-day for a season, and give 
him another trial. 

The very day before the wedding was to have 
taken place, Breckinridge, while absorbed in watch- 
ing the flight of a balloon, walked into a well and 
fractured one of his legs, and it had to be taken off 
above the knee. Again Aurelia was moved to break 
the engagement, but again love triumphed, and she 
set the day forward and gave him another chance to 
reform. 

And again misfortune overtook the unhappy 
youth. He lost one arm by the premature dis- 
charge of a Fourth of July cannon, and within three 
months he got the other pulled out by a carding- 
machine. Aurelia's heart was almost crushed by 
these latter calamities. She could not but be deeply 
grieved to see her lover passing from her by piece- 
meal, feeling, as she did, that he could not last for- 
ever under this disastrous process of reduction, yet 
knowing of no way to stop its dreadful career, and 
in her tearful despair she almost regretted, like 
brokers who hold on and lose, that she had not taken 
him at first, before he had suffered such an alarming 
depreciation. Still, her brave soul bore her up, and 
she resolved to bear with her friend's unnatural 
disposition yet a little longer. 

306 



AURELIA'S YOUNG MAN 

Again the wedding-day approached, and again 
disappointment overshadowed it; Caruthers fell ill 
with the erysipelas, and lost the use of one of his 
eyes entirely. The friends and relatives of the 
bride, considering that she had already put up with 
more than could reasonably be expected of her, now 
came forward and insisted that the match should 
be broken off; but after wavering awhile, Aurelia, 
with a generous spirit which did her credit, said she 
had reflected calmly upon the matter, and could not 
discover that Breckinridge was to blame. 

So she extended the time once more, and he 
broke his other leg. 

It was a sad day for the poor girl when she saw 
the surgeons reverently bearing away the sack whose 
uses she had learned by previous experience, and 
her heart told her the bitter truth that some more of 
her lover was gone. She felt that the field of her 
affections was growing more and more circumscribed 
every day, but once more she frowned down her 
relatives and renewed her betrothal. 

Shortly before the time set for the nuptials another 
disaster occurred. There was but one man scalped 
by the Owens River Indians last year. That man 
was Williamson Breckinridge Caruthers of New 
Jersey. He was hurrying home with happiness in 
his heart, when he lost his hair forever, and in that 
hour of bitterness he almost cursed the mistaken 
mercy that had spared his head. 

At last Aurelia is in serious perplexity as to what 
she ought to do. She still loves her Breckinridge, she 
writes, with truly womanly feeling she still loves 



1 VV 

what is left of him but her parents are bitterly 
opposed to the match, because he has no property 
and is disabled from working, and she has not suffi- 
cient means to support both comfortably. "Now, 
what should she do?" she asked with painful and 
anxious solicitude. 

It is a delicate question; it is one which involves 
the lifelong happiness of a woman, and that of 
nearly two-thirds of a man, and I feel that it would 
be assuming too great a responsibility to do more 
than make a mere suggestion in the case. How 
would it do to build to him? If Aurelia can afford 
the expense, let her furnish her mutilated lover with 
wooden arms and wooden legs, and a glass eye and 
a wig, and give him another show; give him ninety 
days, without grace, and if he does not break his 
neck in the mean time, marry him and take the 
chances. It does not seem to me that there is much 
risk, anyway, Aurelia, because if he sticks to his 
singular propensity for damaging himself every time 
he sees a good opportunity, his next experiment is 
bound to finish him, and then you are safe, married 
or single. If married, the wooden legs and such other 
valuables as he may possess revert to the widow, and 
you see you sustain no actual loss save the cherished 
fragment of a noble but most unfortunate husband, 
who honestly strove to do right, but whose extraor- 
dinary instincts were against him. Try it, Maria. 
I have thought the matter over carefully and well, 
and it is the only chance I see for you. It would 
have been a happy conceit on the part of Caruthers 
if he had started with his neck and broken that first ; 

308 



AURELIA'S YOUNG MAN 

but since he has seen fit to choose a different policy 
and string himself out as long as possible, I do not 
think we ought to upbraid him for it if he has en- 
joyed it. We must do the best we can under the 
circumstances, and try not to feel exasperated at 
him. 



"AFTER" JENKINS 

A GRAND affair of a ball the Pioneers' came 
off at the Occidental some time ago. The fol- 
lowing notes of the costumes worn by the belles of 
the occasion may not be uninteresting to the general 
reader, and Jenkins may get an idea therefrom : 

Mrs. W. M. was attired in an elegant pdt& de foie 
gras, made expressly for her, and was greatly ad- 
mired. Miss S. had her hair done up. She was 
the center of attraction for the gentlemen and the 
envy of all the ladies. Mrs. G. W. was tastefully 
dressed in a tout ensemble, and was greeted with 
deafening applause wherever she went. Mrs. C. N. 
was superbly arrayed in white kid gloves. Her 
modest and engaging manner accorded well with the 
unpretending simplicity of her costume and caused 
her to be regarded with absorbing interest by every 
one. 

The charming Miss M. M. B. appeared in a thrill- 
ing waterfall, whose exceeding grace and volume 
compelled the homage of pioneers and emigrants 
alike. How beautiful she was! 

The queenly Mrs. L. R. was attractively attired in 
her new and beautiful false teeth, and the bon jour 
effect they naturally produced was heightened by 
her enchanting and well-sustained smile. 

310 



"AFTER" JENKINS 

Miss R. P., with that repugnance to ostentation 
in dress which is so peculiar to her, was attired in a 
simple white lace collar, fastened with a neat pearl- 
button solitaire. The fine contrast between the 
sparkling vivacity of her natural optic, and the 
steadfast attentiveness of her placid glass eye, was 
the subject of general and enthusiastic remark. 

Miss C. L. B. had her fine nose elegantly enameled, 
and the easy grace with which she blew it from time 
to time marked her as a cultivated and accomplished 
woman of the world; its exquisitely modulated tone 
excited the admiration of all who had the happiness 
to hear it. 



ABOUT BARBERS 

AX things change except barbers, the ways of 
barbers, and the surroundings of barbers. 
These never change. What one experiences in a 
barber's shop the first time he enters one is what he 
always experiences in barbers' shops afterward till 
the end of his days. I got shaved this morning as 
usual. A man approached the door from Jones 
Street as I approached it from Main a thing that 
always happens. I hurried up, but it was of no 
use; he entered the door one little step ahead of 
me, and I followed in on his heels and saw him take 
the only vacant chair, the one presided over by the 
best barber. It always happens so. I sat down, 
hoping that I might fall heir to the chair belonging 
to the better of the remaining two barbers, for he 
had already begun combing his man's hair, while 
his comrade was not yet quite done rubbing up and 
oiling his customer's locks. I watched the proba- 
bilities with strong interest. When I saw that No. 2 
was gaining on No. i my interest grew to solicitude. 
When No. i stopped a moment to make change on 
a bath ticket for a new-comer, and lost ground in 
the race, my solicitude rose to anxiety. When No. 
i caught up again, and both he and his comrade 
were pulling the towels away and brushing the 

312 



ABOUT BARBERS 

powder from their customers' cheeks, and it was 
about an even thing which one would say "Next!" 
first, my very breath stood still with the suspense. 
But when at the culminating moment No. i stopped 
to pass a comb a couple of times through his cus- 
tomer's eyebrows, I saw that he had lost the race 
by a single instant, and I rose indignant and quitted 
the shop, to keep from falling into the hands of 
No. 2 ; for I have none of that enviable firmness that 
enables a man to look calmly into the eyes of a wait- 
ing barber and tell him he will wait for his fellow- 
barber's chair. 

I stayed out fifteen minutes, and then went back, 
hoping for better luck. Of course all the chairs 
were occupied now, and four men sat waiting, silent, 
unsociable, distraught, and looking bored, as men 
always do who are waiting their turn in a barber's 
shop. I sat down in one of the iron-armed compart- 
ments of an old sofa, and put in the time for a while 
reading the framed advertisements of all sorts of 
quack nostrums for dyeing and coloring the hair. 
Then I read the greasy names on the private bay- 
rum bottles; read the names and noted the numbers 
on the private shaving -cups in the pigeonholes; 
studied the stained and damaged cheap prints on the 
walls, of battles, early Presidents, and voluptuous 
recumbent sultanas, and the tiresome and everlasting 
young girl putting her grandfather's spectacles on; 
execrated in my heart the cheerful canary and the 
distracting parrot that few barbers' shops are with- 
out. Finally, I searched out the least dilapidated of 
last year's illustrated papers that littered the foul 

313 



MARK TWAIN 

center-table, and conned their unjustifiable misrepre- 
sentations of old forgotten events. 

At last my turn came. A voice said "Next!" 
and I surrendered to No. 2, of course. It always 
happens so. I said meekly that I was in a hurry, 
and it affected him as strongly as if he had never 
heard it. He shoved up my head, and put a napkin 
under it. He plowed his fingers into my collar and 
fixed a towel there. He explored my hair with his 
claws and suggested that it needed trimming. I 
said I did not want it trimmed. He explored again 
and said it was pretty long for the present style 
better have a little taken off; it needed it behind 
especially. I said I had had it cut only a week 
before. He yearned over it reflectively a moment, 
and then asked with a disparaging manner, who cut 
it? I came back at him promptly with a "You 
did!" I had him there. Then he fell to stirring 
up his lather and regarding himself in the glass, 
stopping now and then to get close and examine his 
chin critically or inspect a pimple. Then he lathered 
one side of my face thoroughly, and was about to 
lather the other, when a dog-fight attracted his atten- 
tion, and he ran to the window and stayed and saw 
it out, losing two shillings on the result in bets with 
the other barbers, a thing which gave me great satis- 
faction. He finished lathering, and then began to 
rub in the suds with his hand. 

He now began to sharpen his razor on an old 
suspender, and was delayed a good deal on account 
of a controversy about a cheap masquerade ball he 
had figured at the night before, in red cambric and 



ABOUT BARBERS 

bogus ermine, as some kind of a king. He was so 
gratified with being chaffed about some damsel 
whom he had smitten with his charms that he used 
every means to continue the controversy by pretend- 
ing to be annoyed at the chaffings of his fellows. 
This matter begot more surveyings of himself in the 
glass, and he put down his razor and brushed his 
hair with elaborate care, plastering an inverted arch 
of it down on his forehead, accomplishing an accu- 
rate "part" behind, and brushing the two wings 
forward over his ears with nice exactness. In the 
mean time the lather was drying on my face, and 
apparently eating into my vitals. 

Now he began to shave, digging his fingers into 
my countenance to stretch the skin and bundling 
and tumbling my head this way and that as con- 
venience in shaving demanded. As long as he was 
on the tough sides of my face I did not suffer; but 
when he began to rake, and rip, and tug at my chin, 
the tears came. He now made a handle of my nose, 
to assist him shaving the corners of my upper lip, 
and it was by this bit of circumstantial evidence that 
I discovered that a part of his duties in the shop 
was to clean the kerosene-lamps. I had often won- 
dered in an indolent way whether the barbers did 
that, or whether it was the boss. 

About this time I was amusing myself trying to 
guess where he would be most likely to cut me this 
time, but he got ahead of me, and sliced me on the 
end of the chin before I had got my mind made up. 
He immediately sharpened his razor he might have 
done it before. I do not like a close shave, and would 



MARK TWAIN 

not let him go over me a second time. I tried to get 
him to put up his razor, dreading that he would 
make for the side of my chin, my pet tender spot, 
a place which a razor cannot touch twice without 
making trouble; but he said he only wanted to just 
smooth off one little roughness, and in the same 
moment he slipped his razor along the forbidden 
ground, and the dreaded pimple-signs of a close shave 
rose up smarting and answered to the call. Now he 
soaked his towel in bay rum, and slapped it all over 
my face nastily ; slapped it over as if a human being 
ever yet washed his face in that way. Then he dried 
it by slapping with the dry part of the towel, as if 
a human being ever dried his face in such a fashion ; 
but a barber seldom rubs you like a Christian. 
Next he poked bay rum into the cut place with his 
towel, then choked the wound with powdered starch, 
then soaked it with bay rum again, and would have 
gone on soaking and powdering it forevermore, no 
doubt, if I had not rebelled and begged off. He 
powdered my whole face now, straightened me up, 
and began to plow my hair thoughtfully with his 
hands. Then he suggested a shampoo, and said my 
hair needed it badly, very badly. I observed that 
I shampooed it myself very thoroughly in the bath 
yesterday. I "had him" again. He next recom- 
mended some of "Smith's Hair Glorifier," and offered 
to sell me a bottle. I declined. He praised the new 
perfume, "Jones's Delight of the Toilet," and pro- 
posed to sell me some of that. I declined again. He 
tendered me a tooth- wash atrocity of his own invention, 
and when I declined offered to trade knives with me. 

316 



ABOUT BARBERS 

He returned to business after the miscarriage of 
this last enterprise, sprinkled me all over, legs and 
all, greased my hair in defiance of my protest against 
it, rubbed and scrubbed a good deal of it out by the 
roots, and combed and brushed the rest, parting it 
behind, and plastering the eternal inverted arch of 
hair down on my forehead, and then, while combing 
my scant eyebrows and defiling them with pomade, 
strung out an account of the achievements of a six- 
ounce black-and-tan terrier of his till I heard the 
whistles blow for noon, and knew I was five minutes 
too late for the train. Then he snatched away the 
towel, brushed it lightly about my face, passed his 
comb through my eyebrows once more, and gaily 
sang out "Next!" 

This barber fell down and died of apoplexy two 
hours later. I am waiting over a day for my re- 
venge I am going to attend his funeral. 



"PARTY CRIES" IN IRELAND 

BELFAST is a peculiarly religious community. 
This may be said of the whole of the North of 
Ireland. About one-half of the people are Protes- 
tants and the other half Catholics. Each party does 
all it can to make its own doctrines popular and 
draw the affections of the irreligious toward them. 
One hears constantly of the most touching instances 
of this zeal. A week ago a vast concourse of Cath- 
olics assembled at Armagh to dedicate a new 
Cathedral; and when they started home again the 
roadways were lined with groups of meek and lowly 
Protestants who stoned them till all the region round 
about was marked with blood. I thought that only 
Catholics argued in that way, but it seems to be a 
mistake. 

Every man in the community is a missionary and 
carries a brick to admonish the erring with. The 
law has tried to break this up, but not with perfect 
success. It has decreed that irritating ' ' party cries ' ' 
shall not be indulged in, and that persons uttering 
them shall be fined forty shillings and costs. And 
so, in the police court reports every day, one sees 
these fines recorded. Last week a girl of twelve years 
old was fined the usual forty shillings and costs for 
proclaiming in the public streets that she was "a 

318 



"PARTY CRIES" IN IRELAND 

Protestant." The usual cry is, "To hell with the 
Pope!" or "To hell with the Protestants!" accord- 
ing to the utterer's system of salvation. 

One of Belfast's local jokes was very good. It 
referred to the uniform and inevitable fine of forty 
shillings and costs for uttering a party cry and it 
is no economical fine for a poor man, either, by the 
way. They say that a policeman found a drunken 
man lying on the ground, up a dark alley, entertain- 
ing himself with shouting, "To M/'with!" "To 
hell with!" The officer smelt a fine informers get 
half. 

"What's that you say?" 

"To hell with!" 

"To hell with who? To hell with what?" 

"Ah, bedad, ye can finish it yourself it's too 
expinsive for me!" 

I think the seditious disposition, restrained by the 
economical instinct, is finely put in that. 



THE FACTS CONCERNING THE 
RECENT RESIGNATION 1 

WASHINGTON, December 2, 1867. 

{HAVE resigned. The government] appears to go 
on much the same, but there is a spoke out of 
its wheel, nevertheless. I was clerk of the Senate 
Committee on Conchology, and I have thrown up 
the position. I could see the plainest disposition on 
the part of the other members of the government to 
debar me from having any voice in the counsels of 
the nation, and so I could no longer hold office and 
retain my self-respect. If I were to detail all the 
outrages that were heaped upon me during the six 
days that I was connected with the government in 
an official capacity, the narrative would fill a volume. 
They appointed me clerk of that Committee on 
Conchology, and then allowed me no amanuensis to 
play billiards with. I would have borne that, lone- 
some as it was, if I had met with that courtesy from 
the other members of the Cabinet which was my 
due. But I did not. Whenever I observed that 
the head of a department was pursuing a wrong 
course, I laid down everything and went and tried 
to set him right, as it was my duty to do; and I 
never was thanked for it in a single instance. I 

'Written about 1867. 
320 



THE RECENT RESIGNATION 

went, with the best intentions in the world, to the 
Secretary of the Navy, and said: 

"Sir, I cannot see that Admiral Farragut is doing 
anything but skirmishing around there in Europe, 
having a sort of picnic. Now, that may be all very 
well, but it does not exhibit itself to me in that light. 
If there is no fighting for him to do, let him come 
home. There is no use in a man having a whole 
fleet for a pleasure excursion. It is too expensive. 
Mind, I do not object to pleasure excursions for 
the naval officers pleasure excursions that are in 
reason pleasure excursions that are economical. 
Now, they might go down the Mississippi on a raft " 

You ought to have heard him storm ! One would 
have supposed I had committed a crime of some 
kind. But I didn't mind. I said it was cheap, and 
full of republican simplicity, and perfectly safe. I 
said that, for a tranquil pleasure excursion, there 
was nothing equal to a raft. 

Then the Secretary of the Navy asked me who I 
was; and when I told him I was connected with the 
government, he wanted to know in what capacity. 
I said that, without remarking upon the singularity 
of such a question, coming, as it did, from a mem- 
ber of that same government, I would inform him 
that I was clerk of the Senate Committee on Con- 
chology. Then there was a fine storm ! He finished 
by ordering me to leave the premises, and give my 
attention strictly to my own business in future. My 
first impulse was to get him removed. However, 
that would harm others besides himself, and do me 
no real good, and so I let him stay. 

321 



MARK TWAIN 

I went next to the Secretary of War, who was not 
inclined to see me at all until he learned that I was 
connected with the government. If I had not been 
on important business, I suppose I could not have 
got in. I asked him for a light (he was smoking at 
the time), and then I told him I had no fault to find 
with his defending the parole stipulations of General 
Lee and his comrades in arms, but that I could not 
approve of his method of fighting the Indians on the 
Plains. I said he fought too scattering. He ought 
to get the Indians more together get them together 
in some convenient place, where he could have pro- 
visions enough for both parties, and then have a 
general massacre. I said there was nothing so con- 
vincing to an Indian as a general massacre. If he 
could not approve of the massacre, I said the next 
surest thing for an Indian was soap and education. 
Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, 
but they are more deadly in the long run ; because a 
half -massacred Indian may recover, but if you edu- 
cate him and wash him, it is bound to finish him 
some time or other. It undermines his constitution ; 
it strikes at the foundation of his being. "Sir," I 
said, "the time has come when blood-curdling 
cruelty has become necessary. Inflict soap and a 
spelling-book on every Indian that ravages the 
Plains, and let them die!" 

The Secretary of War asked me if I was a mem- 
ber of the Cabinet, and I said I was. He inquired 
what position I held, and I said I was clerk of the 
Senate Committee on Conchology. I was then or- 
dered under arrest for contempt of court, and re- 

322 



THE RECENT RESIGNATION 

strained of my liberty for the best part of the 
day. 

I almost resolved to be silent thenceforward, and 
let the Government get along the best way it could. 
But duty called, and I obeyed. I called on the 
Secretary of the Treasury. He said : 

"What will you have?" 

The question threw me off my guard. I said, 
"Rum punch." 

He said: "If you have got any business here, sir, 
state it and in as few words as possible." 

I then said that I was sorry he had seen fit to 
change the subject so abruptly, because such con- 
duct was very offensive to me; but under the cir- 
cumstances I would overlook the matter and come 
to the point. I now went into an earnest expostu- 
lation with him upon the extravagant length of his 
report. I said it was expensive, unnecessary, and 
awkwardly constructed; there were no descriptive 
passages in it, no poetry, no sentiment no heroes, 
no plot, no pictures not even wood-cuts. Nobody 
would read it, that was a clear case. I urged him 
not to ruin his reputation by getting out a thing like 
that. If he ever hoped to succeed in literature he 
must throw more variety into his writings. He must 
beware of dry detail. I said that the main popu- 
larity of the almanac was derived from its poetry 
and conundrums, and that a few conundrums dis- 
tributed around through his Treasury report would 
help the sale of it more than all the internal revenue 
he could put into it. I said these things in the kind- 
est spirit, and yet the Secretary of the Treasury fell 

323 



MARK TWAIN 

into a violent passion. He even said I was an ass. 
He abused me in the most vindictive manner, and 
said that if I came there again meddling with his 
business he would throw me out of the window. I 
said I would take my hat and go, if I could not be 
treated with the respect due to my office, and I did 
go. It was just like a new author. They always 
think they know more than anybody else when they 
are getting out their first book. Nobody can tell 
them anything. 

During the whole time that I was connected with 
the government it seemed as if I could not do 
anything in an official capacity without getting my- 
self into trouble. And yet I did nothing, attempted 
nothing, but what I conceived to be for the good of 
my country. The sting of my wrongs may have 
driven me to unjust and harmful conclusions, but it 
surely seemed to me that the Secretary of State, the 
Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Treasury, and 
others of my confreres had conspired from the very 
beginning to drive me from the Administration. I 
never attended but one Cabinet meeting while I was 
connected with the government. That was suffi- 
cient for me. The servant at the White House door 
did not seem disposed to make way for me until I 
asked if the other members of the Cabinet had 
arrived. He said they had, and I entered. They 
were all there; but nobody offered me a seat. They 
stared at me as if I had been an intruder. The 
President said: 

"Well, sir, who are you?" 

I handed him my card, and he read: "The HON. 
324 



THE RECENT RESIGNATION 

MARK TWAIN, Clerk of the Senate Committee on 
Conchology." Then he looked at me from head to 
foot, as if he had never heard of me before. The 
Secretary of the Treasury said : 

"This is the meddlesome ass that came to recom- 
mend me to put poetry and conundrums in my 
report, as if it were an almanac." 

The Secretary of War said: "It is the same 
visionary that came to me yesterday with a scheme 
to educate a portion of the Indians to death, and 
massacre the balance." 

The Secretary of the Navy said: "I recognize this 
youth as the person who has been interfering with 
my business time and again during the week. He is 
distressed about Admiral Farragut's using a whole 
fleet for a pleasure excursion, as he terms it. His 
proposition about some insane pleasure excursion on 
a raft is too absurd to repeat." 

I said: "Gentlemen, I perceive here a disposition 
to throw discredit upon every act of my official 
career; I perceive, also, a disposition to debar me 
from all voice in the counsels of the nation. No 
notice whatever was sent to me to-day. It was only 
by the merest chance that I learned that there was 
going to be a Cabinet meeting. But let these things 
pass. All I wish to know is, is this a Cabinet meeting 
or is it not?" 

The President said it was. 

"Then," I said, "let us proceed to business 
at once, and not fritter away valuable time in 
unbecoming fault-findings with each other's official 
conduct." 

325 



MARK TWAIN 

The Secretary of State now spoke up, in his be- 
nignant way, and said, "Young man, you are labor- 
ing under a mistake. The clerks of the Congressional 
committees are not members of the Cabinet. Neither 
are the doorkeepers of the Capitol, strange as it 
may seem. Therefore, much as we could desire your 
more than human wisdom in our deliberations, we 
cannot lawfully avail ourselves of it. The counsels 
of the nation must proceed without you; if disaster 
follows, as follow full well it may, be it balm to your 
sorrowing spirit that by deed and voice you did 
what in you lay to avert it. You have my blessing. 
Farewell." 

These gentle words soothed my troubled breast, 
and I went away. But the servants of a nation can 
know no peace. I had hardly reached my den in 
the Capitol, and disposed my feet on the table like 
a representative, when one of the Senators on the 
Conchological Committee came in in a passion and 
said: 

"Where have you been all day?" 

I observed that, if that was anybody's affair but 
my own, I had been to a Cabinet meeting. 

"To a Cabinet meeting? I would like to know 
what business you had at a Cabinet meeting?" 

I said I went there to consult allowing for the 
sake of argument that he was in any wise concerned 
in the matter. He grew insolent then, and ended 
by saying he had wanted me for three days past to 
copy a report on bomb-shells, egg-shells, clam- 
shells, and I don't know what all, connected with 
conchology, and nobody had been able to find me. 

326 



THE RECENT RESIGNATION 

This was too much. This was the feather that 
broke the clerical camel's back. I said, "Sir, do 
you suppose that I am going to work for six dollars 
a day? If that is the idea, let me recommend the 
Senate Committee on Conchology to hire somebody 
else. I am the slave of no faction! Take back 
your degrading commission. Give me liberty, or 
give me death!" 

From that hour I was no longer connected with 
the government. Snubbed by the department, 
snubbed by the Cabinet, snubbed at last by the 
chairman of a committee I was endeavoring to 
adorn, I yielded to persecution, cast far from me 
the perils and seductions of my great office, and 
forsook my bleeding country in the hour of her peril. 

But I had done the state some service, and I sent 
in my bill: 

The United States of America in account with 

the Hon. Clerk of the Senate Committee on Conchology, Dr. 

To consultation with Secretary of War $50 

To consultation with Secretary of Navy 50 

To consultation with Secretary of the Treasury ... 50 

Cabinet consultation No charge. 

To mileage to and from Jerusalem, 1 via Egypt, Algiers, 

Gibraltar, and Cadiz, 14,000 miles, at 200. a mile . . 2,800 
To salary as Clerk of Senate Committee on Conchology, 

six days, at $6 per day 36 

Total $2,986 

Not an item of this bill has been paid, except that 
trifle of thirty-six dollars for clerkship salary. The 

1 Territorial delegates charge mileage both ways, although they 
never go back when they get here once. Why my mileage is denied 
me is more than I can understand. 

3 2 7 



MARK TWAIN 

Secretary of the Treasury, pursuing me to the last, 
drew his pen through all the other items, and simply 
marked in the margin "Not allowed." So, the 
dread alternative is embraced at last. Repudiation 
has begun! The nation is lost. 

I am done with official life for the present. Let 
those clerks who are willing to be imposed on re- 
main. I know numbers of them in the departments 
who are never informed when there is to be a 
Cabinet meeting, whose advice is never asked about 
war, or finance, or commerce, by the heads of the 
nation, any more than if they were not connected 
with the government, and who actually stay in their 
offices day after day and work! They know their 
importance to the nation, and they unconsciously 
show it in their bearing, and the way they order 
their sustenance at the restaurant but they work. 
I know one who has to paste all sorts of little scraps 
from the newspapers into a scrapbook sometimes 
as many as eight or ten scraps a day. He doesn't 
do it well, but he does it as well as he can. It is 
very fatiguing. It is exhausting to the intellect. 
Yet he only gets eighteen hundred dollars a year. 
With a brain like his, that young man could amass 
thousands and thousands of dollars in some other 
pursuit, if he chose to do it. But no his heart is 
with his country, and he will serve her as long as 
she has got a scrapbook left. And I know clerks 
that don't know how to write very well, but such 
knowledge as they possess they nobly lay at the feet 
of their country, and toil on and suffer for twenty- ! 
five hundred dollars a year. What they write has 

328 



THE RECENT RESIGNATION 

to be written over again by other clerks sometimes; 
but when a man has done his best for his country, 
should his country complain? Then there are clerks 
that have no clerkships, and are waiting, and waiting, 
and waiting for a vacancy waiting patiently for a 
chance to help their country out and while they 
are waiting, they only get barely two thousand dol- 
lars a year for it. It is sad it is very, very sad. 
When a member of Congress has a friend who is 
gifted, but has no employment wherein his great 
powers may be brought to bear, he confers him 
upon his country, and gives him a clerkship in a 
department. And there that man has to slave his 
life out, fighting documents for the benefit of a 
nation that never thinks of him, never sympathizes 
with him and all for two thousand or three thou- 
sand dollars a year. When I shall have completed 
my list of all the clerks in the several departments, 
with my statement of what they have to do, and 
what they get for it, you will see that there are not 
half enough clerks, and that what there are do not 
get half enough pay. 



HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF 

THE following I find in a Sandwich Island paper 
which some friend has sent me from that 
tranquil far-off retreat. The coincidence between 
my own experience and that here set down by the 
late Mr. Benton is so remarkable that I cannot 
forbear publishing and commenting upon the para- 
graph. The Sandwich Island paper says: 

How touching is this tribute of the late Hon. T. H. Benton to 
his mother's influence: "My mother asked me never to use 
tobacco; I have never touched it from that time to the present 
day. She asked me not to gamble, and I have never gambled. 
I cannot tell who is losing in games that are being played. She 
admonished me, too, against liquor-drinking, and whatever ca- 
pacity for endurance I have at present, and whatever usefulness 
I may have attained through life, I attribute to having complied 
with her pious and correct wishes. When I was seven years of 
age she asked me not to drink, and then I made a resolution of 
total abstinence; and that I have adhered to it through all time 
I owe to my mother." 

I never saw anything so curious. It is almost an 
exact epitome of my own moral career after sim- 
ply substituting a grandmother for a mother. How 
well I remember my grandmother's asking me not 
to use tobacco, good old soul! She said, "You're at 
it again, are you, you whelp? Now don't ever let 
me catch you chewing tobacco before breakfast again, 

330 



HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF 

or I lay I'll blacksnake you within an inch of your 
life!" I have never touched it at that hour of the 
morning from that time to the present day. 

She asked me not to gamble. She whispered and 
said, "Put up those wicked cards this minute! 
two pair and a jack, you numskull, and the other 
fellow's got a flush!" 

I never have gambled from that day to this 
never once without a "cold deck" in my pocket. 
I cannot even tell who is going to lose in games that 
are being played unless I deal myself. 

When I was two years of age she asked me not 
to drink, and then I made a resolution of total 
abstinence. That I have adhered to it and enjoyed 
the beneficent effects of it through all time, I owe to 
my grandmother. I have never drunk a drop from 
that day to this of any kind of water. 



HONORED AS A CURIOSITY 

IF you get into conversation with a stranger in 
Honolulu, and experience that natural desire to 
know what sort of ground you are treading on by 
finding out what manner of man your stranger is, 
strike out boldly and address him as "Captain." 
Watch him narrowly, and if you see by his counte- 
nance that you are on the wrong track, ask him 
where he preaches. It is a safe bet that he is either 
a missionary or captain of a whaler. I became per- 
sonally acquainted with seventy-two captains and 
ninety-six missionaries. The captains and ministers 
form one-half of the population; the third fourth is 
composed of common Kanakas and mercantile for- 
eigners and their families; and the final fourth is 
made up of high officers of the Hawaiian Government. 
And there are just about cats enough for three apiece 
all around. 

A solemn stranger met me in the suburbs one 
day, and said: 

"Good morning, your reverence. Preach in the 
stone church yonder, no doubt!" 

"No, I don't. I'm not a preacher." 

"Really, I beg your pardon, captain. I trust you 
had a good season. How much oil " 

"Oil! Why, what do you take me for? I'm not 
a whaler." 

332 



HONORED AS A CURIOSITY 

" Oh ! I beg a thousand pardons, your Excellency. 
Major-General in the household troops, no doubt? 
Minister of the Interior, likely? Secretary of War? 
First Gentleman of the Bedchamber ? Commissioner 
of the Royal" 

"Stuff, man! I'm not connected in any way with 
the government." 

"Bless my life! Then who the mischief are you? 
what the mischief are you? and how the mischief 
did you get here? and where in thunder did you 
come from?" 

"I'm only a private personage an unassuming 
stranger lately arrived from America." 

"No! Not a missionary! not a whaler! not a 
member of his Majesty's government! not even a 
Secretary of the Navy! Ah! Heaven! it is too 
blissful to be true, alas! I do but dream. And 
yet that noble, honest countenance those oblique, 
ingenuous eyes that massive head, incapable of 
of anything; your hand; give me your hand, 
bright waif. Excuse these tears. For sixteen 
weary years I have yearned for a moment like this, 
and" 

Here his feelings were too much for him, and he 
swooned away. I pitied this poor creature from 
the bottom of my heart. I was deeply moved. I 
shed a few tears on him, and kissed him for his 
mother. I then took what small change he had, 
and "shoved." 



FIRST INTERVIEW WITH 
ARTEMUS WARD 1 

I HAD never seen him before. He brought letters 
of introduction from mutual friends in San Fran- 
cisco, and by invitation I breakfasted with him. It 
was almost religion, there in the silver-mines, to 
precede such a meal with whisky cocktails. Artemus, 
with the true cosmopolitan instinct, always deferred 
to the customs of the country he was in, and so he 
ordered three of those abominations. Kingston was 
present. I said I would rather not drink a whisky 
cocktail. I said it would go right to my head, and 
confuse me so that I would be in a helpless tangle in 
ten minutes. I did not want to act like a lunatic 
before strangers. But Artemus gently insisted, and 
I drank the treasonable mixture under protest, and 
felt all the time that I was doing a thing I might be 
sorry for. In a minute or two I began to imagine 
that my ideas were clouded. I waited in great 
anxiety for the conversation to open, with a sort of 
vague hope that my understanding would prove 
clear, after all, and my misgivings groundless. 

Artemus dropped an unimportant remark or two, 
and then assumed a look of superhuman earnest- 
ness, and made the following astounding speech. He 
said: 

1 Written about 1870. 
334 



INTERVIEW WITH ARTEMUS WARD 

"Now there is one thing I ought to ask you about 
before I forget it. You have been here in Silver- 
land here in Nevada two or three years, and, 
of course, your position on the daily press has made 
it necessary for you to go down in the mines and 
examine them carefully in detail, and therefore you 
know all about the silver-mining business. Now 
what I want to get at is is, well, the way the 
deposits of ore are made, you know. For instance. 
Now, as I understand it, the vein which contains the 
silver is sandwiched in between casings of granite, 
and runs along the ground, and sticks up like a curb- 
stone. Well, take a vein forty feet thick, for ex- 
ample, or eighty, for that matter, or even a hundred 
say you go down on it with a shaft, straight 
down, you know, or with what you call 'incline' 
maybe you go down five hundred feet, or maybe 
you don't go down but two hundred anyway, you 
go down, and all the time this vein grows narrower, 
when the casings come nearer or approach each 
other, you may say that is, when they do ap- 
proach, which, of course, they do not always do, 
particularly in cases where the nature of the forma- 
tion is such that they stand apart wider than they 
otherwise would, and which geology has failed to 
account for, although everything in that science 
goes to prove that, all things being equal, it would 
if it did not, or would not certainly if it did, and 
then, of course, they are. Do not you think 
it is?" 

I said to myself: 

"Now I just knew how it would be that whisky 
335 



MARK TWAIN 

cocktail has done the business for me; I don't 
understand any more than a clam." 

And then I said aloud: 

"I I that is if you don't mind, would you 
would you say that over again? I ought " 

"Oh, certainly, certainly! You see I am very 
unfamiliar with the subject, and perhaps I don't 
present my case clearly, but I " 

"No, no no, no you state it plain enough, 
but that cocktail has muddled me a little. But I 
will no, I do understand for that matter; but I 
would get the hang of it all the better if you went 
over it again and I'll pay better attention this 
time." 

He said, "Why, what I was after was this." 

[Here he became even more fearfully impressive 
than ever, and emphasized each particular point by 
checking it off on his finger-ends.] 

"This vein, or lode, or ledge, or whatever you 
call it, runs along between two layers of granite, just 
the same as if it were a sandwich. Very well. Now 
suppose you go down on that, say a thousand feet, 
or maybe twelve hundred (it don't really matter) 
before you drift, and then you start your drifts, 
some of them across the ledge, and others along the 
length of it, where the sulphurets I believe they 
call them sulphurets, though why they should, con- 
sidering that, so far as I can see, the main depen- 
dence of a miner does not so lie, as some suppose, 
but in which it cannot be successfully maintained, 
wherein the same should not continue, while part 
and parcel of the same ore not committed to either 

336 



INTERVIEW WITH ARTEMUS WARD 

in the sense referred to, whereas, under different 
circumstances, the most inexperienced among us 
could not detect it if it were, or might overlook it 
if it did, or scorn the very idea of such a thing, 
even though it were palpably demonstrated as such. 
Am I not right?" 

I said, sorrowfully: "I feel ashamed of myself, 
Mr. Ward. I know I ought to understand you per- 
fectly well, but you see that treacherous whisky 
cocktail has got into my head, and now I cannot 
understand even the simplest proposition. I told 
you how it would be." 

"Oh, don't mind it, don't mind it; the fault was 
my own, no doubt though I did think it clear 
enough for " 

"Don't say a word. Clear! Why, you stated it 
as clear as the sun to anybody but an abject idiot; 
but it's that confounded cocktail that has played the 
mischief." 

"No; now don't say that. I'll begin it all over 
again, and " 

"Don't now for goodness' sake, don't do any- 
thing of the kind, because I tell you my head is in 
such a condition that I don't believe I could under- 
stand the most trifling question a man could ask 
me." 

"Now don't you be afraid. I'll put it so plain 
this time that you can't help but get the hang of 
it. We will begin at the very beginning." [Leaning 
far across the table, with determined impressiveness 
wrought upon his every feature, and fingers pre- 
pared to keep tally of each point enumerated; and 

337 



MARK TWAIN 

I, leaning forward with painful interest, resolved to 
comprehend or perish.] "You know the vein, the 
ledge, the thing that contains the metal, whereby it 
constitutes the medium between all other forces, 
whether of present or remote agencies, so brought to 
bear in favor of the former against the latter, or the 
latter against the former or all, or both, or com- 
promising the relative differences existing within the 
radius whence culminate the several degrees of simi- 
larity to which " 

I said: "Oh, hang my wooden head, it ain't any 
use! it ain't any use to try I can't understand 
anything. The plainer you get it the more I can't 
get the hang of it." 

I heard a suspicious noise behind me, and turned 
in time to see Kingston dodging behind a newspaper, 
and quaking with a gentle ecstasy of laughter. I 
looked at Ward again, and he had thrown off his 
dread solemnity and was laughing also. Then I saw 
that I had been sold that I had been made a vic- 
tim of a swindle in the way of a string of plausibly 
worded sentences that didn't mean anything under 
the sun. Artemus Ward was one of the best fellows 
in the world, and one of the most companionable. 
It has been said that he was not fluent in conversa- 
tion, but> with the above experience in my mind, I 
differ. 



CANNIBALISM IN THE CARS 1 

{VISITED St. Louis lately, and on my way West, 
after changing cars at Terre Haute, Indiana, a 
mild, benevolent-looking gentleman of about forty- 
five, or maybe fifty, came in at one of the way- 
stations and sat down beside me. We talked to- 
gether pleasantly on various subjects for an hour, 
perhaps, and I found him exceedingly intelligent and 
entertaining. When he learned that I was from 
Washington, he immediately began to ask questions 
about various public men, and about Congressional 
affairs ; and I saw very shortly that I was conversing 
with a man who was perfectly familiar with the ins 
and outs of political life at the Capital, even to the 
ways and manners, and customs of procedure of 
Senators and Representatives in the Chambers of 
the national Legislature. Presently two men halted 
near us for a single moment, and one said to the 
other: 

"Harris, if you'll do that for me, I'll never forget 
you, my boy." 

My new comrade's eye lighted pleasantly. The 
words had touched upon a happy memory, I 
thought. Then his face settled into thoughtfulness 
almost into gloom. He turned to me and said, 

1 Written about 1867. 
339 



MARK TWAIN 

"Let me tell you a story; let me give you a secret 
chapter of my life a chapter that has never been 
referred to by me since its events transpired. Listen 
patiently, and promise that you will not interrupt 
me." 

I said I would not, and he related the following 
strange adventure, speaking sometimes with anima- 
tion, sometimes with melancholy, but always with 
feeling and earnestness. 

THE STRANGER'S NARRATIVE 

"On the 19 th of December, 1853, I started from 
St. Louis on the evening train bound for Chicago. 
There were only twenty -four passengers, all told. 
There were no ladies and no children. We were in 
excellent spirits, and pleasant acquaintanceships were 
soon formed. The journey bade fair to be a happy 
one; and no individual in the party, I think, had 
even the vaguest presentiment of the horrors we 
were soon to undergo. 

"At ir P.M. it began to snow hard. Shortly after 
leaving the small village of Welden, we entered 
upon that tremendous prairie solitude that stretches 
its leagues on leagues of houseless dreariness far 
away toward the Jubilee Settlements. The winds, 
unobstructed by trees or hills, or even vagrant rocks, 
whistled fiercely across the level desert, driving the 
falling snow before it like spray from the crested 
waves of a stormy sea. The snow was deepening 
fast; and we knew, by the diminished speed of the 
train, that the engine was plowing through it with 

340 



1JN THK CARS 

steadily increasing difficulty. Indeed, it almost came 
to a dead halt sometimes, in the midst of great drifts 
that piled themselves like colossal graves across the 
track. Conversation began to flag. Cheerfulness 
gave place to grave concern. The possibility of 
being imprisoned in the snow, on the bleak prairie, 
fifty miles from any house, presented itself to every 
mind, and extended its depressing influence over 
every spirit. 

"At two o'clock in the morning I was aroused 
out of an uneasy slumber by the ceasing of all 
motion about me. The appalling truth flashed upon 
me instantly we were captives in a snow-drift! 
'All hands to the rescue!' Every man sprang to 
obey. Out into the wild night, the pitchy darkness, 
the billowy snow, the driving storm, every soul 
leaped, with the consciousness that a moment lost 
now might bring destruction to us all. Shovels, 
hands, boards anything, everything that could dis- 
place snow, was brought into instant requisition. It 
was a weird picture, that small company of frantic 
men fighting the banking snows, half in the blackest 
shadow and half in the angry light of the loco- 
motive's reflector. 

"One short hour sufficed to prove the utter use- 
lessness of our efforts. The storm barricaded the 
track with a dozen drifts while we dug one away. 
And worse than this, it was discovered that the last 
grand charge the engine had made upon the enemy 
had broken the fore-and-aft shaft of the driving- 
wheel! With a free track before us we should still 
have been helpless. We entered the car wearied 

34i 



MARK TWAIN 

with labor, and very sorrowful. We gathered about 
the stoves, and gravely canvassed our situation. 
We had no provisions whatever in this lay our 
chief distress. We could not freeze, for there was a 
good supply of wood in the tender. This was our 
only comfort. The discussion ended at last in ac- 
cepting the disheartening decision of the conductor, 
viz., that it would be death for any man to attempt 
to travel fifty miles on foot through snow like that. 
We could not send for help, and even if we could it 
would not come. We must submit, and await, as 
patiently as we might, succor or starvation! I think 
the stoutest heart there felt a momentary chill when 
those words were uttered. 

"Within the hour conversation subsided to a low 
murmur here and there about the car, caught fitfully 
between the rising and falling of the blast ; the lamps 
grew dim; and the majority of the castaways settled 
themselves among the flickering shadows to think 
to forget the present, if they could to sleep, if 
they might. 

"The eternal night it surely seemed eternal to 
us wore its lagging hours away at last, and the 
cold gray dawn broke in the east. As the light 
grew stronger the passengers began to stir and give 
signs of life, one after another, and each in turn 
pushed his slouched hat up from his forehead, 
stretched his stiffened limbs, and glanced out of the 
windows upon the cheerless prospect. It was cheer- 
less, indeed! not a living thing visible anywhere, 
not a human habitation; nothing but a vast white 
desert; uplifted sheets of snow drifting hither and 

342 



CANNIBALISM IN THE CARS 

thither before the wind a world of eddying flakes 
shutting out the firmament above. 

"All day we moped about the cars, saying little, 
thinking much. Another lingering dreary night 
and hunger. 

"Another dawning another day of silence, sad- 
ness, wasting hunger, hopeless watching for succor 
that could not come. A night of restless slumber, 
filled with dreams of feasting wakings distressed 
with the gna wings of hunger. 

"The fourth day came and went and the fifth! 
Five days of dreadful imprisonment! A savage 
hunger looked out at every eye. There was in it a 
sign of awful import the foreshadowing of a some- 
thing that was vaguely shaping itself in every heart 
a something which no tongue dared yet to frame 
into words. 

"The sixth day passed the seventh dawned 
upon as gaunt and haggard and hopeless a company 
of men as ever stood in the shadow of death. It 
must out now! That thing which had been growing 
up in every heart was ready to leap from every lip 
at last! Nature had been taxed to the utmost she 
must yield. RICHARD H. GASTON of Minnesota, 
tall, cadaverous, and pale, rose up. All knew what 
was coming. All prepared every emotion, every 
semblance of excitement was smothered only a 
calm, thoughtful seriousness appeared in the eyes 
that were lately so wild. 

"Gentlemen: It cannot be delayed longer! The 
time is at hand! We must determine which of us 
shall die to furnish food for the rest !' 

343 



MARK TWAIN 

"MR. JOHN J. WILLIAMS of Illinois rose and said: 
'Gentlemen I nominate the Rev. James Sawyer 
of Tennessee.' 

"MR. WM. R. ADAMS of Indiana said: 'I nominate 
Mr. Daniel Slote of New York.' 

"MR. CHARLES J. LANGDON: 'I nominate Mr. 
Samuel A. Bowen of St. Louis.' 

"MR. SLOTE: 'Gentlemen I desire to decline 
in favor of Mr. John A. Van Nostrand, Jun., of 
New Jersey.' 

"MR. GASTON: 'If there be no objection, the 
gentleman's desire will be acceded to.' 

"MR. VAN NOSTRAND objecting, the resignation 
of Mr. Slote was rejected. The resignations of 
Messrs. Sawyer and Bowen were also offered, and 
refused upon the same grounds. 

"MR. A. L. BASCOM of Ohio: 'I move that the 
nominations now close, and that the House proceed 
to an election by ballot.' 

"MR. SAWYER: 'Gentlemen I protest earnestly 
against these proceedings. They are, in every way, 
irregular and unbecoming. I must beg to move that 
they be dropped at once, and that we elect a chair- 
man of the meeting and proper officers to assist him, 
and then we can go on with the business before us 
understandingly . ' 

"MR. BELL of Iowa: 'Gentlemen I object. This 
is no time to stand upon forms and ceremonious 
observances. For more than seven days we have 
been without food. Every moment we lose in idle 
discussion increases our distress. I am satisfied with 
the nominations that have been made every gentle- 

344 



CANNIBALISM 1JN THB 

man present is, I believe and I, for one, do not see 
why we should not proceed at once to elect one or 
more of them. I wish to offer a resolution ' 

"MR. GASTON: 'It would be objected to, and have 
to lie over one day under the rules, thus bring- 
ing about the very delay you wish to avoid. The 
gentleman from New Jersey ' 

"MR. VAN NOSTRAND: 'Gentlemen I am a 
stranger among you; I have not sought the dis- 
tinction that has been conferred upon me, and I feel 
a delicacy ' 

"MR. MORGAN of Alabama (interrupting): 'I 
move the previous question.' 

"The motion was carried, and further debate shut 
off, of course. The motion to elect officers was 
passed, and under it Mr. Gaston was chosen chair- 
man, Mr. Blake, secretary, Messrs. Holcomb, Dyer, 
and Baldwin a committee on nominations, and Mr. 
R. M. Rowland, purveyor, to assist the committee 
in making selections. 

"A recess of half an hour was then taken, and 
some little caucusing followed. At the sound of 
the gavel the meeting reassembled, and the com- 
mittee reported in favor of Messrs. George Ferguson 
of Kentucky, Lucien Herrman of Louisiana, and W. 
Messick of Colorado as candidates. The report was 
accepted. 

"MR. ROGERS of Missouri: 'Mr. President 
The report being properly before the House now, I 
move to amend it by substituting for the name of 
Mr. Herrman that of Mr. Lucius Harris of St. Louis, 
who is well and honorably known to us all. I do 

345 



MARK TWAIN 

not wish to be understood as casting the least reflec- 
tion upon the high character and standing of the 
gentleman from Louisiana far from it. I respect 
and esteem him as much as any gentleman here 
present possibly can; but none of us can be blind to 
the fact that he has lost more flesh during the week 
that we have lain here than any among us none of 
us can be blind to the fact that the committee has 
been derelict in its duty, either through negligence 
or a graver fault, in thus offering for our suffrages a 
gentleman who, however pure his own motives may 
be, has really less nutriment in him ' 

"THE CHAIR: 'The gentleman from Missouri will 
take his seat. The Chair cannot allow the integrity 
of the committee to be questioned save by the 
regular course, under the rules. What action will 
the House take upon the gentleman's motion?' 

"MR. HALLIDAY of Virginia: 'I move to further 
amend the report by substituting Mr. Harvey Davis 
of Oregon for Mr. Messick. It may be urged by 
gentlemen that the hardships and privations of a 
frontier life have rendered Mr. Davis tough; but, 
gentlemen, is this a time to cavil at toughness? Is 
this a time to be fastidious concerning trifles? Is 
this a time to dispute about matters of paltry signifi- 
cance? No, gentlemen, bulk is what we desire 
substance, weight, bulk these are the supreme 
requisites now not talent, not genius, not educa- 
tion. I insist upon my motion.' 

"MR. MORGAN (excitedly): 'Mr. Chairman I do 
most strenuously object to this amendment. The 
gentleman from Oregon is old, and furthermore is 

346 



CANNIBALISM IN THE CARS 

bulky only in bone not in flesh. I ask the gentle- 
man from Virginia if it is soup we want instead 
of solid sustenance? if he would delude us with 
shadows? if he would mock our suffering with an 
Oregonian specter? I ask him if he can look upon 
the anxious faces around him, if he can gaze into 
our sad eyes, if he can listen to the beating of our ex- 
pectant hearts, and still thrust this famine-stricken 
fraud upon us? I ask him if he can think of our 
desolate state, of our past sorrows, of our dark 
future, and still unpityingly foist upon us this wreck, 
this ruin, this tottering swindle, this gnarled and 
blighted and sapless vagabond from Oregon's inhos- 
pitable shores? Never!' [Applause.] 

"The amendment was put to vote, after a fiery- 
debate, and lost. Mr. Harris was substituted on the 
first amendment. The balloting then began. Five 
ballots were held without a choice. On the sixth, 
Mr. Harris was elected, all voting for him but him- 
self. It was then moved that his election should be 
ratified by acclamation, which was lost, in conse- 
quence of his again voting against himself. 

"MR. RADWAY moved that the House now take 
up the remaining candidates, and go into an election 
for breakfast. This was carried. 

"On the first ballot there was a tie, half the 
members favoring one candidate on account of his 
youth, and half favoring the other on account of his 
superior size. The President gave the casting vote 
for the latter, Mr. Messick. This decision created 
considerable dissatisfaction among the friends of Mr. 
Ferguson, the defeated candidate, and there was 

347 



MARK TWAIN 

some talk of demanding a new ballot; but in the 
midst of it a motion to adjourn was carried, and the 
meeting broke up at once. 

"The preparations for supper diverted the atten- 
tion of the Ferguson faction from the discussion of 
their grievance for a long time, and then, when they 
would have taken it up again, the happy announce- 
ment that Mr. Harris was ready drove all thought 
of it to the winds. 

"We improvised tables by propping up the backs 
of car-seats, and sat down with hearts full of grati- 
tude to the finest supper that had blessed our vision 
for seven torturing days. How changed we were 
from what we had been a few short hours before! 
Hopeless, sad-eyed misery, hunger, feverish anxiety, 
desperation, then; thankfulness, serenity, joy too 
deep for utterance now. That I know was the 
cheeriest hour of my eventful life. The winds 
howled, and blew the snow wildly about our prison- 
house, but they were powerless to distress us any 
more. I liked Harris. He might have been better 
done, perhaps, but I am free to say that no man 
ever agreed with me better than Harris, or afforded 
me so large a degree of satisfaction. Messick was 
very well, though rather high-flavored, but for gen- 
uine nutritiousness and delicacy of fiber, give me 
Harris. Messick had his good points I will not 
attempt to deny it, nor do I wish to do it but he 
was no more fitted for breakfast than a mummy 
would be, sir not a bit. Lean ? why, bless me ! and 
tough? Ah, he was very tough! You could not im- 
agine it you could never imagine anything like it." 

348 



CANNIBALISM IN THE CARS 

"Do you mean to tell me that " 

"Do not interrupt me, please. After breakfast 
we elected a man by the name of Walker, from 
Detroit, for supper. He was very good. I wrote 
his wife so afterward. He was worthy of all 
praise. I shall always remember Walker. He was 
a little rare, but very good. And then the next 
morning we had Morgan of Alabama for breakfast. 
He was one of the finest men I ever sat down to 
handsome, educated, refined, spoke several languages 
fluently a perfect gentleman he was a perfect 
gentleman, and singularly juicy. For supper we 
had that Oregon patriarch, and he was a fraud, 
there is no question about it old, scraggy, tough, 
nobody can picture the reality. I finally said, gen- 
tlemen, you can do as you like, but I will wait for 
another election. And Grimes of Illinois said, 
'Gentlemen, I will wait also. When you elect a 
man that has something to recommend him, I shall 
be glad to join you again.' It soon became evident 
that there was general dissatisfaction with Davis of 
Oregon, and so, to preserve the good will that had 
prevailed so pleasantly since we had had Harris, an 
election was called, and the result of it was that 
Baker of Georgia was chosen. He was splendid! 
Well, well after that we had Doolittle, and Haw- 
kins, and McElroy (there was some complaint about 
McElroy, because he was uncommonly short and 
thin), and Penrod, and two Smiths, and Bailey 
(Bailey had a wooden leg, which was clear loss, but 
he was otherwise good), and an Indian boy, and an 
organ-grinder, and a gentleman by the name of 

349 



MARK TWAIN 

Buckminster a poor stick of a vagabond that 
wasn't any good for company and no account for 
breakfast. We were glad we got him elected before 
relief came." 

"And so the blessed relief did come at last?" 

"Yes, it came one bright, sunny morning, just 
after election. John Murphy was the choice, and 
there never was a better, I am willing to testify; but 
John Murphy came home with us, in the train that 
came to succor us, and lived to marry the widow 
Harris" 

"Relict of" 

"Relict of our first choice. He married her, and 
is happy and respected and prosperous yet. Ah, it 
was like a novel, sir it was like a romance. This 
is my stopping-place, sir; I must bid you good- 
by. Any time that you can make it convenient to 
tarry a day or two with me, I shall be glad to have 
you. I like you, sir; I have conceived an affection 
for you. I could like you as well as I liked Har- 
ris himself, sir. Good day, sir, and a pleasant 
journey." 

He was gone. I never felt so stunned, so dis- 
tressed, so bewildered in my life. But in my soul I 
was glad he was gone. With all his gentleness of 
manner and his soft voice, I shuddered whenever he 
turned his hungry eye upon me; and when I heard 
that I had achieved his perilous affection, and that I 
stood almost with the late Harris in his esteem, my 
heart fairly stood still! 

I was bewildered beyond description. I did not 
doubt his word; I could not question a single item 



CANNIBALISM IN THE CARS 

in a statement so stamped with the earnestness of 
truth as his; but its dreadful details overpowered 
me, and threw my thoughts into hopeless confusion. 
I saw the conductor looking at me. I said, "Who 
is that man?" 

"He was a member of Congress once, and a 
good one. But he got caught in a snow-drift in the 
cars, and like to have been starved to death. He got 
so frost-bitten and frozen up generally, and used up 
for want of something to eat, that he was sick and 
out of his head two or three months afterward. He 
is all right now, only he is a monomaniac, and when 
he gets on that old subject he never stops till he has 
eat up that whole car-load of people he talks about. 
He would have finished the crowd by this time, only 
he had to get out here. He has got their names as 
pat as A B C. When he gets them all eat up but 
himself, he always says: 'Then the hour for the 
usual election for breakfast having arrived, and there 
being no opposition, I was duly elected, after which, 
there being no objections offered, I resigned. Thus 
I am here." 

I felt inexpressibly relieved to know that I had 
only been listening to the harmless vagaries of a 
madman instead of the genuine experiences of a 
bloodthirsty cannibal. 



THE KILLING OF JULIUS CAESAR 
"LOCALIZED" 1 

Being the only true and reliable account ever published; 
taken from the Roman "Daily Evening Fasces," 
of the date of that tremendous occurrence. 

NOTHING in the world affords a newspaper re- 
porter so much satisfaction as gathering up 
the* details of a bloody and mysterious murder and 
writing them up with aggravating circumstantiality. 
He takes a living delight in this labor of love for 
such it is to him, especially if he knows that all the 
other papers have gone to press, and his will be the 
only one that will contain the dreadful intelligence. 
A feeling of regret has often come over me that I 
was not reporting in Rome when Ccesar was killed 
reporting on an evening paper, and the only one 
in the city, and getting at least twelve hours ahead 
of the morning-paper boys with this most magnifi- 
cent "item" that ever fell to the lot of the craft. 
Other events have happened as startling as this, but 
none that possessed so peculiarly all the character- 
istics of the favorite "item" of the present day, 
magnified into grandeur and sublimity by the high 
rank, fame, and social and political standing of the 
actors in it. 

1 Written about 1865. 
352 



KILLING OF JULIUS CAESAR 

However, as I was not permitted to report Caesar's 
assassination in the regular way, it has at least 
afforded me rare satisfaction to translate the follow- 
ing able account of it from the original Latin of the 
Roman Daily Evening Fasces of that date second 
edition : 

Our usually quiet city of Rome was thrown into a state of 
wild excitement yesterday by the occurrence of one of those 
bloody affrays which sicken the heart and fill the soul with fear, 
while they inspire all thinking men with forebodings for the fu- 
ture of a city where human life is held so cheaply and the grav- 
est laws are so openly set at defiance. As the result of that 
affray, it is our painful duty, as public journalists, to record the 
death of one of our most esteemed citizens a man whose name 
is known wherever this paper circulates, and whose fame it has 
been our pleasure and our privilege to extend, and also to pro- 
tect from the tongue of slander and falsehood, to the best of our 
poor ability. We refer to Mr. J. Caesar, the Emperor-elect. 

The facts of the case, as nearly as our reporter could deter- 
mine them from the conflicting statements of eye-witnesses, were 
about as follows: The affair was an election row, of course. 
Nine-tenths of the ghastly butcheries that disgrace the city 
nowadays grow out of the bickerings and jealousies and ani- 
mosities engendered by these accursed elections. Rome would 
be the gainer by it if her very constables were elected to serve 
a century; for in our experience we have never even been able 
to choose a dog-pelter without celebrating the event with a 
dozen knockdowns and a general cramming of the station-house 
with drunken vagabonds overnight. It is said that when the 
immense majority for Caesar at the polls in the market was de- 
clared the other day, and the crown was offered to that gentle- 
man, even his amazing unselfishness in refusing it three times 
was not sufficient to save him from the whispered insults of such 
men as Casca, of the Tenth Ward, and other hirelings of the dis- 
appointed candidate, hailing mostly from the Eleventh and 
Thirteenth and other outside districts, who were overheard 
speaking ironically and contemptuously of Mr. Caesar's conduct 
upon that occasion. 

353 



MARK TWAIN 

We are further informed that there are many among us who 
think they are justified in believing that the assassination of 
Julius Caesar was a put-up thing a cut-and-dried arrangement, 
hatched by Marcus Brutus and a lot of his hired roughs, 
and carried out only too faithfully according to the program. 
Whether there be good grounds for this suspicion or not, we 
leave to the people to judge for themselves, only asking that 
they will read the following account of the sad occurrence care- 
fully and dispassionately before they render that judgment. 

The Senate was already in session, and Caesar was coming 
down the street toward the capitol, conversing with some per- 
sonal friends, and followed, as usual, by a large number of citi- 
zens. Just as he was passing in front of Demosthenes and 
Thucydides' drug store, he was observing casually to a gentle- 
man, who, our informant thinks, is a fortune-teller, that the Ides 
of March were come. The reply was, " Yes, they are come, but 
not gone yet." At this moment Artemidorus stepped up and 
passed the time of day, and asked Caesar to read a schedule or 
a tract or something of the kind, which he had brought for his 
perusal. Mr. Decius Brutus also said something about an 
" humble suit " which he wanted read. Artemidorus begged that 
attention might be paid to his first, because it was of personal 
consequence to Caesar. The latter replied that what concerned 
himself should be read last, or words to that effect. Artemi- 
dorus begged and beseeched him to read the paper instantly. 1 
However, Caesar shook him off, and refused to read any petition 
in the street. He then entered the capitol, and the crowd fol- 
lowed him. 

About this time the following conversation was overheard, 
and we consider that, taken in connection with the events which 
succeeded it, it bears an appalling significance: Mr. Papilius 
Lena remarked to George W. Cassius (commonly known as the 
" Nobby Boy of the Third Ward "), a bruiser in the pay of the 
Opposition, that he hoped his enterprise to-day might thrive; 
and when Cassius asked "What enterprise?" he only closed his 
left eye temporarily and said with simulated indifference, " Fare 

*Mark that: It is hinted by William Shakespeare, who saw the 
beginning and the end of the unfortunate affray, that this " schedule " 
was simply a note discovering to Caesar that a plot was brewing to 
take his life. 

354 



KILLING OF JULIUS C^SAR 

you well," and sauntered toward Caesar. Marcus Brutus, who 
is suspected of being the ringleader of the band that killed 
Caesar, asked what it was that Lena had said. Cassius told him, 
and added in a low tone, "I fear our purpose is discovered." 

Brutus told his wretched accomplice to keep an eye on Lena, 
and a moment after Cassius urged that lean and hungry vagrant, 
Casca, whose reputation here is none of the best, to be sudden, 
for he feared prevention. He then turned to Brutus, apparently 
much excited, and asked what should be done, and swore that 
either he or Caesar should never turn back he would kill himself 
first. At this time Caesar was talking to some of the back-country 
members about the approaching fall elections, and paying little 
attention to what was going on around him. Billy Trebonius 
got into conversation with the people's friend and Caesar's 
Mark Antony and under some pretense or other got him away, 
and Brutus, Decius, Casca, Cinna, Metellus Cimber, and others 
of the gang of infamous desperadoes that infest Rome at present, 
closed around the doomed Caesar. Then Metellus Cimber knelt 
down and begged that his brother might be recalled from banish- 
ment, but Caasar rebuked him for his fawning conduct, and re- 
fused to grant his petition. Immediately, at Cimber's request, 
first Brutus and then Cassius begged for the return of the 
banished Publius; but Caesar still refused. He said he could not 
be moved; that he was as fixed as the North Star, and proceeded 
to speak in the most complimentary terms of the firmness of 
that star and its steady character. Then he said he was like it, 
and he believed he was the only man in the country that was; 
therefore, since he was "constant" that Cimber should be ban- 
ished, he was also "constant" that he should stay banished, and 
he'd be hanged if he didn't keep him so! 

Instantly seizing upon this shallow pretext for a fight, Casca 
sprang at Caesar and struck him with a dirk, Caesar grabbing him 
by the arm with his right hand, and launching a blow straight 
from the shoulder with his left, that sent the reptile bleeding to 
the earth. He then backed up against Pompey's statue, and 
squared himself to receive his assailants. Cassius and Cimber 
and Cinna rushed upon him with their daggers drawn, and the 
former succeeded in inflicting a wound upon his body; but 
before he could strike again, and before either of the others 
could strike at all, Caesar stretched the three miscreants at his 

355 



MARK TWAIN 

feet with as many blows of his powerful fist. By this time the 
Senate was in an indescribable uproar; the throng of citizens 
in the lobbies had blockaded the doors in their frantic efforts 
to escape from the building, the sergeant-at-arms and his assist- 
ants were struggling with the assassins, venerable senators had 
cast aside their encumbering robes, and were leaping over benches 
and flying down the aisles in wild confusion toward the shelter 
of the committee-rooms, and a thousand voices were shouting 
"Po-lice! Po-lice!" in discordant tones that rose above the 
frightful din like shrieking winds above the roaring of a tempest. 
And amid it all great Caesar stood with his back against the 
statue, like a lion at bay, and fought his assailants weaponless 
and hand to hand, with the defiant bearing and the unwavering 
courage which he had shown before on many a bloody field. 
Billy Trebonius and Caius Legarius struck him with their dag- 
gers and fell, as their brother-conspirators before them had 
fallen. But at last, when Caesar saw his old friend Brutus step 
forward armed with a murderous knife, it is said he seemed ut- 
terly overpowered with grief and amazement, and, dropping his 
invincible left arm by his side, he hid his face in the folds of his 
mantle and received the treacherous blow without an effort to 
stay the hand that gave it. He only said, "Et tu, Brute?" and 
fell lifeless on the marble pavement. 

We learn that the coat deceased had on when he was killed 
was the same one he wore in his tent on the afternoon of the day 
he overcame the Nervii, and that when it was removed from the 
corpse it was found to be cut and gashed in no less than seven 
different places. There was nothing in the pockets. It will be 
exhibited at the coroner's inquest, and will be damning proof of 
the fact of the killing. These latter facts may be relied on, as 
we get them from Mark Antony, whose position enables him to 
learn every item of news connected with the one subject of ab- 
sorbing interest of -to-day. 

LATER. While the coroner was summoning a jury, Mark 
Antony and other friends of the late Caesar got hold of the body, 
and lugged it off to the Forum, and at last accounts Antony 
and Brutus were making speeches over it and raising such a 
row among the people that, as we go to press, the chief of police 
is satisfied there is going to be a riot, and is taking measures 
accordingly. 

356 



THE WIDOW'S PROTEST 

ONE of the saddest things that ever came under 
my notice (said the banker's clerk) was there 
in Corning during the war. Dan Murphy enlisted 
as a private, and fought very bravely. The boys all 
liked him, and when a wound by and by weakened 
him down till carrying a musket was too heavy work 
for him, they clubbed together and fixed him up as 
a sutler. He made money then, and sent it always 
to his wife to bank for him. She was a washer and 
ironer, and knew enough by hard experience to keep 
money when she got it. She didn't waste a penny. 
On the contrary, she began to get miserly as her 
bank -account grew. She grieved to part with a 
cent, poor creature, for twice in her hard-working 
life she had known what it was to be hungry, cold, 
friendless, sick, and without a dollar in the world, 
and she had a haunting dread of suffering so again. 
Well, at last Dan died; and the boys, in testimony 
of their esteem and respect for him, telegraphed to 
Mrs. Murphy to know if she would like to have him 
embalmed and sent home; when you know the 
usual custom was to dump a poor devil like him 
into a shallow hole, and then inform his friends 
what had become of him. Mrs. Murphy jumped to 
the conclusion that it would only cost two or three 

357 



MARK TWAIN 

dollars to embalm her dead husband, and so she 
telegraphed "Yes." It was at the "wake" that the 
bill for embalming arrived and was presented to the 
widow. 

She uttered a wild, sad wail that pierced every 
heart, and said, "Sivinty-foive dollars for stooffin' 
Dan, blister their sowls! Did thim divils suppose I 
was goin' to stairt a Museim, that I'd be dalin' in 
such expinsive curiassities !" 

The banker's clerk said there was not a dry eye 
in the house. 



THE SCRIPTURAL PANORAMIST 1 

PHERE was a fellow traveling around in that 

1 country," said Mr. Nickerson, "with a moral- 
religious show a sort of scriptural panorama and 
he hired a wooden-headed old slab to play the piano 
for him. After the first night's performance the 
showman says: 

'"My friend, you seem to know pretty much all 
the tunes there are, and you worry along first rate. 
But then, didn't you notice that sometimes last night 
the piece you happened to be playing was a little 
rough on the proprieties, so to speak didn't seem 
to jibe with the general gait of the picture that was 
passing at the time, as it were was a little foreign 
to the subject, you know as if you didn't either 
trump or follow suit, you understand?' 

"'Well, no,' the fellow said; 4 he hadn't noticed, 
but it might be ; he had played along just as it came 
handy.' 

"So they put it up that the simple old dummy 

was to keep his eye on the panorama after that, and 

as soon as a stunning picture was reeled out he was 

to fit it to a dot with a piece of music that would 

help the audience to get the idea of the subject, and 

1 Written about 1866. 

359 



MARK TWAIN 

warm them up like a camp-meeting revival. That 
sort of thing would corral their sympathies, the 
showman said. 

"There was a big audience that night mostly 
middle-aged and old people who belong to the 
church, and took a strong interest in Bible matters, 
and the balance were pretty much young bucks 
and heifers they always come out strong on 
panoramas, you know, because it gives them a 
chance to taste one another's complexions in the 
dark. 

"Well, the showman began to swell himself up 
for his lecture, and the old mud-dobber tackled the 
piano and ran his fingers up and down once or twice 
to see that she was all right, and the fellows behind 
the curtain commenced to grind out the panorama. 
The showman balanced his weight on his right foot, 
and propped his hands over his hips, and flung 
his eyes over his shoulder at the scenery, and 
said: 

"'Ladies and gentlemen, the painting now before 
you illustrates the beautiful and touching parable of 
the Prodigal Son. Observe the happy expression 
just breaking over the features- of the poor, suffering 
youth so worn and weary with his long march ; 
note also the ecstasy beaming from the uplifted 
countenance of the aged father, and the joy that 
sparkles in the eyes of the excited group of youths 
and maidens, and seems ready to burst into the 
welcoming chorus from their lips. The lesson, my 
friends, is as solemn and instructive as the story is 
tender and beautiful.' 

360 



THE SCRIPTURAL PANORAMIST 

"The mud-dobber was all ready, and when the 
second speech was finished, struck up: 

"Oh, we'll all get blind drunk 
When Johnny comes marching home! 

"Some of the people giggled, and some groaned 
a little. The showman couldn't say a word; he 
looked at the pianist sharp, but he was all lovely 
and serene he didn't know there was anything out 
of gear. 

"The panorama moved on, and the showman 
drummed up his grit and started in fresh. 

"'Ladies and gentlemen, the fine picture now 
unfolding itself to your gaze exhibits one of the 
most notable events in Bible history our Saviour 
and His disciples upon the Sea of Galilee. How 
grand, how awe-inspiring are the reflections which 
the subject invokes ! What sublimity of faith is re- 
vealed to us in this lesson from the sacred writings ! 
The Saviour rebukes the angry waves, and walks 
securely upon the bosom of the deep!' 

"All around the house they were whispering, 
'Oh, how lovely, how beautiful!' and the orchestra 
let himself out again: 

"A life on the ocean wave, 
And a home on the rolling deep! 

"There was a good deal of honest snickering 
turned on this time, and considerable groaning, and 
one or two old deacons got up and went out. The 
showman grated his teeth, and cursed the piano man 
to himself ; but the fellow sat there like a knot on a 
log, and seemed to think he was doing first-rate. 

361 



MARK TWAIN 

"After things got quiet the showman thought he 
would make one more stagger at it, anyway, though 
his confidence was beginning to get mighty shaky. 
The supes started the panorama grinding along again, 
and he says: 

"'Ladies and gentlemen, this exquisite painting 
represents the raising of Lazarus from the dead by 
our Saviour. The subject has been handled with 
marvelous skill by the artist, and such touching 
sweetness and tenderness of expression has he 
thrown into it that I have known peculiarly sensi- 
tive persons to be even affected to tears by looking 
at it. Observe the half -confused, half -inquiring look 
upon the countenance of the awakened Lazarus. 
Observe, also, the attitude and expression of the 
Saviour, who takes him gently by the sleeve of his 
shroud with one hand, while He points with the 
other toward the distant city.' 

"Before anybody could get off an opinion in the 
case the innocent old ass at the piano struck up : 

"Come rise up, William Ri-i-ley, 
And go along with me! 

"Whe-ew! All the solemn old flats got up in a 
huff to go, and everybody else laughed till the win- 
dows rattled. 

"The showman went down and grabbed the 
orchestra and shook him up and says: 

"'That lets you out, you know, you chowder- 
headed old clam. Go to the doorkeeper and get your 
money, and cut your stick vamose the ranch ! Ladies 
and gentlemen, circumstances over which I have no 
control compel me prematurely to dismiss the house.' " 

362 



CURING A COLD 1 

IT is a good thing, perhaps, to write for the amuse- 
ment of the public, but it is a far higher and 
nobler thing to write for their instruction, their 
profit, their actual and tangible benefit. The latter 
is the sole object of this article. If it prove the 
means of restoring to health one solitary sufferer 
among my race, of lighting up once more the fire of 
hope and joy in his faded eyes, or bringing back to 
his dead heart again the quick, generous impulses of 
other days, I shall be amply rewarded for my labor; 
my soul will be permeated with the sacred delight a 
Christian feels when he has done a good, unselfish 
deed. 

Having led a pure and blameless life, I am justi- 
fied in believing that no man who knows me will 
reject the suggestions I am about to make, out of 
fear that I am trying to deceive him. Let the public 
do itself the honor to read my experience in doctor- 
ing a cold, as herein set forth, and then follow in 
my footsteps. 

When the White House was burned in Virginia 
City, I lost my home, my happiness, my constitu- 
tion, and my trunk. The loss of the two first- 
named articles was a matter of no great conse- 

1 Written about 1864. 
363 



MARK TWAIN 

quence, since a home without a mother, or a sister, 
or a distant young female relative in it, to remind 
you, by putting your soiled linen out of sight and 
taking your boots down off the mantelpiece, that 
there are those who think about you and care for 
you, is easily obtained. And I cared nothing for 
the loss of my happiness, because, not being a poet, 
it could not be possible that melancholy would abide 
with me long. But to lose a good constitution and 
a better trunk were serious misfortunes. On the day 
of the fire my constitution succumbed to a severe 
cold, caused by undue exertion in getting ready to 
do something. I suffered to no purpose, too, be- 
cause the plan I was figuring at for the extin- 
guishing of the fire was so elaborate that I never 
got it completed until the middle of the following 
week. 

The first time I began to sneeze, a friend told me 
to go and bathe my feet in hot water and go to bed. 
I did so. Shortly afterward, another friend advised 
me to get up and take a cold shower-bath. I did 
that also. Within the hour, another friend assured 
me that it was policy to "feed a cold and starve a 
fever." I had both. So I thought it best to fill 
myself up for the cold, and then keep dark and let 
the fever starve awhile. 

In a case of this kind, I seldom do things by 
halves; I ate pretty heartily; I conferred my custom 
upon a stranger who had just opened his restaurant 
that morning; he waited near me in respectful silence 
until I had finished feeding my cold, when he in- 
quired if the people about Virginia City were much 

364 



CURING A COLD 

afflicted with colds? I told him I thought they 
were. He then went out and took in his sign. 

I started down toward the office, and on the way 
encountered another bosom friend, who told me that 
a quart of salt-water, taken warm, would come as 
near curing a cold as anything in the world. I 
hardly thought I had room for it, but I tried it any- 
how. The result was surprising. I believed I had 
thrown up my immortal soul. 

Now, as I am giving my experience only for the 
benefit of those who are troubled with the distemper 
I am writing about, I feel that they will see the 
propriety of my cautioning them against following 
such portions of it as proved inefficient with me, 
and acting upon this conviction, I warn them against 
warm salt-water. It may be a good enough remedy, 
but I think it is too severe. If I had another cold 
in the head, and there were no course left me but 
to take either an earthquake or a quart of warm salt- 
water, I would take my chances on the earthquake. 

After the storm which had been raging in my 
stomach had subsided, and no more good Samaritans 
happening along, I went on borrowing handkerchiefs 
again and blowing them to atoms, as had been my 
custom in the early stages of my cold, until I came 
across a lady who had just arrived from over the 
plains, and who said she had lived in a part of the 
country where doctors were scarce, and had from 
necessity acquired considerable skill in the treatment 
of simple "family complaints." I knew she must 
have had much experience, for she appeared to be 
a hundred and fifty years old. 

365 



MARK TWAIN 

She mixed a decoction composed of molasses, 
aquafortis, turpentine, and various other drugs, and 
instructed me to take a wine-glass full of it every 
fifteen minutes. I never took but one dose; that 
was enough; it robbed me of all moral principle, and 
awoke every unworthy impulse of my nature. Under 
its malign influence my brain conceived miracles of 
meanness, but my hands were too feeble to execute 
them; at that time, had it not been that my strength 
had surrendered to a succession of assaults from 
infallible remedies for my cold, I am satisfied that 
I would have tried to rob the graveyard. Like 
most other people, I often feel mean, and act accord- 
ingly; but until I took that medicine I had never 
reveled in such supernatural depravity, and felt 
proud of it. At the end of two days I was ready 
to go to doctoring again. I took a few more unfail- 
ing remedies, and finally drove my cold from my head 
to my lungs. 

I got to coughing incessantly, and my voice fell 
below zero; I conversed in a thundering bass, two 
octaves below my natural tone; I could only com- 
pass my regular nightly repose by coughing myself 
down to a state of utter exhaustion, and then the 
moment I began to talk in my sleep, my discordant 
voice woke me up again. 

My case grew more and more serious every day. 
Plain gin was recommended; I took it. Then gin 
and molasses; I took that also. Then gin and 
onions; I added the onions, and took all three. I 
detected no particular result, however, except that I 
had acquired a breath like a buzzard's. 

366 



CURING A COLD 

I found I had to travel for my health. I went to 
Lake Bigler with my reportorial comrade, Wilson. 
It is gratifying to me to reflect that we traveled in 
considerable style; we went in the Pioneer coach, 
and my friend took all his baggage with him, con- 
sisting of two excellent silk handkerchiefs and a 
daguerreotype of his grandmother. We sailed and 
hunted and fished and danced all day, and I doc- 
tored my cough all night. By managing in this way, 
I made out to improve every hour in the twenty- 
four. But my disease continued to grow worse. 

A sheet-bath was recommended. I had never re- 
fused a remedy yet, and it seemed poor policy to 
commence then; therefore I determined to take a 
sheet-bath, notwithstanding I had no idea what sort 
of arrangement it was. It was administered at mid- 
night, and the weather was very frosty. My breast 
and back were bared, and a sheet (there appeared 
to be a thousand yards of it) soaked in ice-water, 
was. wound around me until I resembled a swab for 
a Columbiad. 

It is a cruel expedient. When the chilly rag 
touches one's warm flesh, it makes him start with 
sudden violence, and gasp for breath just as men do 
in the death-agony. It froze the marrow in my 
bones and stopped the beating of my heart. I 
thought my time had come. 

Young Wilson said the circumstance reminded 
him of an anecdote about a negro who was being 
baptized, and who slipped from the parson's grasp, 
and came near being drowned. He floundered 
around, though, and finally rose up out of the 

367 



MARK TWAIN 

water considerably strangled and furiously angry, 
and started ashore at once, spouting water like a 
whale, and remarking, with great asperity, that 
"one o' dese days some gen'1'man's nigger gwyne 
to get killed wid jis' such damn foolishness as dis!" 

Never take a sheet-bath never. Next to meet- 
ing a lady acquaintance who, for reasons best 
known to herself, don't see you when she looks at 
you, and don't know you when she does see you, it 
is the most uncomfortable thing in the world. 

But, as I was saying, when the sheet-bath failed 
to cure my cough, a lady friend recommended the 
application of a mustard plaster to my breast. I 
believe that would have cured me effectually, if it 
had not been for young Wilson. When I went to 
bed, I put my mustard plaster which was a very 
gorgeous one, eighteen inches square where I 
could reach it when I was ready for it. But young 
Wilson got hungry in the night, and here is food 
for the imagination. 

After sojourning a week at Lake Bigler, I went to 
Steamboat Springs, and, besides the steam-baths, I 
took a lot of the vilest medicines that were ever 
concocted. They would have cured me, but I had 
to go back to Virginia City, where, notwithstanding 
the variety of new remedies I absorbed every day, I 
managed to aggravate my disease by carelessness 
and undue exposure. 

I finally concluded to visit San Francisco, and the 
first day I got there a lady at the hotel told me to 
drink a quart of whisky every twenty-four hours, 
and a friend up- town recommended, precisely the 

368 



CURING A COLD 

same course. Each advised me to take a quart; 
that made half a gallon. I did it, and still live. 

Now, with the kindest motives in the world, I 
offer for the consideration of consumptive patients 
the variegated course of treatment I have lately gone 
through. Let them try it; if it don't cure, it can't 
more than kill them. 



A CURIOUS PLEASURE 
EXCURSION 1 

[We have received the following advertisement, but, inas- 
much as it concerns a matter of deep and general interest, we 
feel fully justified in inserting it in our reading-columns. We are 
confident that our conduct in this regard needs only explanation, 
not apology. ED., N. F. Herald.] 

ADVERTISEMENT 

THIS is to inform the public that in connection 
with Mr. Barnum I have leased the comet for 
a term of years; and I desire also to solicit the 
public patronage in favor of a beneficial enterprise 
which we have in view. 

We propose to fit up comfortable, and even 
luxurious, accommodations in the comet for as 
many persons as will honor us with their patronage, 
and make an extended excursion among the heavenly 
bodies. We shall prepare 1,000,000 state-rooms in 
the tail of the comet (with hot and cold water, gas, 
looking-glass, parachute, umbrella, etc., in each), 
and shall construct more if we meet with a suffi- 
ciently generous encouragement. We shall have 
billiard-rooms, card-rooms, music-rooms, bowling- 
alleys and many spacious theaters and free libraries ; 

Published at the time of the "Comet Scare" in the summer 
of 1874. 

370 



A CURIOUS PLEASURE EXCURSION 

and on the main deck we propose to have a driving- 
park, with upward of 100,000 miles of roadway in 
it. We shall publish daily newspapers also. 

DEPARTURE OF THE COMET. 

The comet will leave New York at 10 P.M. on 
the 2oth inst., and therefore it will be desirable that 
the passengers be on board by eight at the latest, to 
avoid confusion in getting under way. It is not 
known whether passports will be necessary or not, 
but it is deemed best that passengers provide them, 
and so guard against all contingencies. No dogs 
will be allowed on board. This rule has been made 
in deference to the existing state of feeling regarding 
these animals, and will be strictly adhered to. The 
safety of the passengers will in all ways be jealously 
looked to. A substantial iron railing will be put up 
all around the comet, and no one will be allowed to 
go to the edge and look over unless accompanied by 
either my partner or myself. 

THE POSTAL SERVICE 

will be of the completest character. Of course 
the telegraph, and the telegraph only, will be em- 
ployed; consequently friends occupying state-rooms 
20,000,000 and even 30,000,000 miles apart will be 
able to send a message and receive a reply inside of 
eleven days. Night messages will be half-rate. The 
whole of this vast postal system will be under the 
personal superintendence of Mr. Hale of Maine. 
Meals served at all hours. Meals served in state- 
rooms charged extra. 

371 



MARK TWAIN 

Hostility is not apprehended from any great planet, 
but we have thought it best to err on the safe side, 
and therefore have provided a proper number of 
mortars, siege -guns, and boarding -pikes. History- 
shows that small, isolated communities, such as the 
people of remote islands, are prone to be hostile 
to strangers, and so the same may be the case 
with 

THE INHABITANTS OF STARS 

of the tenth or twentieth magnitude. We shall in 
no case wantonly offend the people of any star, but 
shall treat all alike with urbanity and kindliness, 
never conducting ourselves toward an asteroid after 
a fashion which we could not venture to assume 
toward Jupiter or Saturn. I repeat that we shall 
not wantonly offend any star; but at the same time 
we shall promptly resent any injury that may be 
done us, or any insolence offered us, by parties or 
governments residing in any star in the firmament. 
Although averse to the shedding of blood, we shall 
still hold this course rigidly and fearlessly, not only 
toward single stars, but toward constellations. We 
shall hope to leave a good impression of America 
behind us in every nation we visit, from Venus to 
Uranus. And, at all events, if we cannot inspire 
love we shall at least compel respect for our country 
wherever we go. We shall take with us, free of 
charge, 

A GREAT FORCE OF MISSIONARIES, 

and shed the true light upon all the celestial orbs 
which, physically aglow, are yet morally in dark- 

372 



A CURIOUS PLEASURE EXCURSION 

ness. Sunday-schools will be established wherever 
practicable. Compulsory education will also be 
introduced. 

The comet will visit Mars first, and proceed to 
Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn. Parties con- 
nected with the government of the District of 
Columbia and with the former city government of 
New York, who may desire to inspect the rings, will 
be allowed time and every facility. Every star of 
prominent magnitude will be visited, and time 
allowed for excursions to points of interest inland. 

THE DOG STAR 

has been stricken from the program. Much time 
will be spent in the Great Bear, and, indeed, in every 
constellation of importance. So, also, with the Sun 
and Moon and the Milky Way, otherwise the Gulf 
Stream of the skies. Clothing suitable for wear 
in the sun should be provided. Our program has 
been so arranged that we shall seldom go more 
than 100,000,000 of miles at a time without stop- 
ping at some star. This will necessarily make the 
stoppages frequent and preserve the interest of the 
tourist. Baggage checked through to any point on 
the route. Parties desiring to make only a part of 
the proposed tour, and thus save expense, may stop 
over at any star they choose and wait for the return 
voyage. 

After visiting all the most celebrated stars and 
constellations in our system and personally inspect- 
ing the remotest sparks that even the most powerful 

373 



MARK TWAIN 

telescope can now detect in the firmament, we shal] 
proceed with good heart upon 

A STUPENDOUS VOYAGE 

of discovery among the countless whirling worlds 
that make turmoil in the mighty wastes of space that 
stretch their solemn solitudes, their unimaginable 
vastness billions upon billions of miles away beyond 
the farthest verge of telescopic vision, till by com- 
parison the little sparkling vault we used to gaze at 
on Earth shall seem like a remembered phosphores- 
cent flash of spangles which some tropical voyager's 
prow stirred into life for a single instant, and which 
ten thousand miles of phosphorescent seas and 
tedious lapse of time had since diminished to an 
incident utterly trivial in his recollection. Children 
occupying seats at the first table will be charged 
full fare. 

FIRST-CLASS FARE 

from the Earth to Uranus, including visits to the 
Sun and Moon and all the principal planets on the 
route, will be charged at the low rate of $2 for every 
50,000,000 miles of actual travel. A great reduction 
will be made where parties wish to make the round 
trip. This comet is new and in thorough repair and 
is now on her first voyage. She is confessedly the 
fastest on the line. She makes 20,000,000 miles a 
day, with her present facilities; but, with a picked 
American crew and good weather, we are confident 
we can get 40,000,000 out of her. Still, we shall 
never push her to a dangerous speed, and we shall 

374 



A CURIOUS PLEASURE EXCURSION 

rigidly prohibit racing with other comets. Passen- 
gers desiring to diverge at any point or return will 
be transferred to other comets. We make close 
connections at all principal points with all reliable 
lines. Safety can be depended upon. It is not to 
be denied that the heavens are infested with 

OLD RAMSHACKLE COMETS 

that have not been inspected or overhauled in 10,000 
years, and which ought long ago to have been de- 
stroyed or turned into hail-barges, but with these we 
have no connection whatever. Steerage passengers 
not allowed abaft the main hatch. 

Complimentary round -trip tickets have been 
tendered to General Butler, Mr. Shepherd, Mr. 
Richardson, and other eminent gentlemen, whose 
public services have entitled them to the rest and 
relaxation of a voyage of this kind. Parties desiring 
to make the round trip will have extra accommoda- 
tion. The entire voyage will be completed, and the 
passengers landed in New York again, on the i4th 
of December, 1991. This is, at least, forty years 
quicker than any other comet can do it in. Nearly 
all the back-pay members contemplate making the 
round trip with us in case their constituents will 
allow them a holiday. Every harmless amusement 
will be allowed on board, but no pools permitted on 
the run of the comet no gambling of any kind. 
All fixed stars will be respected by us, but such stars 
as seem to need fixing we shall fix. If it makes 
trouble, we shall be sorry, but firm. 

Mr. Coggia having leased his comet to us, she 
375 



MARK TWAIN 

will no longer be called by his name, but by my 
partner's. N. B. Passengers by paying double 
fare will be entitled to a share in all the new stars, 
suns, moons, comets, meteors, and magazines of 
thunder and lightning we may discover. Patent- 
medicine people will take notice that 

WE CARRY BULLETIN-BOARDS 

and a paint-brush along for use in the constellations, 
and are open to terms. Cremationists are reminded 
that we are going straight to some hot places 
and are open to terms. To other parties our enter- 
prise is a pleasure excursion, but individually we 
mean business. We shall fly our comet for all it is 
worth. 

FOR FURTHER PARTICULARS, 

or for freight or passage, apply on board, or to 
my partner, but not to me, since I do not take 
charge of the comet until she is under way. It is 
necessary, at a time like this, that my mind should 
not be burdened with small business details. 

MARK TWAIN. 



RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR 1 

A FEW months ago I was nominated for Governor 
/~\ of the great state of New York, to run against 
Mr. John T. Smith and Mr. Blank J. Blank on an 
independent ticket. I somehow felt that I had one 
prominent advantage over these gentlemen, and that 
was good character. It was easy to see by the 
newspapers that if ever they had known what it was 
to bear a good name, that time had gone by. It 
was plain that in these latter years they had become 
familiar with all manner of shameful crimes. But 
at the very moment that I was exalting my advan- 
tage and joying in it in secret, there was a muddy 
undercurrent of discomfort "riling" the deeps of 
my happiness, and that was the having to hear 
my name bandied about in familiar connection with 
those of such people. I grew more and more dis- 
turbed. Finally I wrote my grandmother about it. 
Her answer came quick and sharp. She said: 

You have never done one single thing in all your life to be 
ashamed of not one. Look at the newspapers look at them 
and comprehend what sort of characters Messrs. Smith and 
Blank are, and then see if you are willing to lower yourself to 
their level and enter a public canvass with them. 

It was my very thought ! I did not sleep a single 
moment that night. But, after all, I could not recede. 

1 Written about 1870. 
377 



MARK TWAIN 

I was fully committed, and must go on with the 
fight. As I was looking listlessly over the papers at 
breakfast I came across this paragraph, and I may 
truly say I never was so confounded before. 

PERJURY. Perhaps, now that Mr. Mark Twain is before the 
people as a candidate for Governor, he will condescend to explain 
how he came to be convicted of perjury by thirty-four witnesses 
in Wakawak, Cochin China, in 1863, the intent of which perjury 
being to rob a poor native widow and her helpless family of a 
meager plantain-patch, their only stay and support in their be- 
reavement and desolation. Mr. Twain owes it to himself, as 
well as to the great people whose suffrages he asks, to clear this 
matter up. Will he do it? 

I thought I should burst with amazement! Such 
a cruel, heartless charge! I never had seen Cochin 
China! I never had heard of Wakawak! I didn't 
know a plantain-patch from a kangaroo! I did not 
know what to do. I was crazed and helpless. I 
let the day slip away without doing anything at all. 
The next morning the same paper had this noth- 
ing more: 

SIGNIFICANT. Mr. Twain, it will be observed, is suggestively 
silent about the Cochin China perjury. 

[Mem. During the rest of the campaign this 
paper never referred to me in any other way than as 
"the infamous perjurer Twain."] 

Next came the Gazette, with this: 

WANTED TO KNOW. Will the new candidate for Governor 
deign to explain to certain of his fellow-citizens (who are suffer- 
ing to vote for him!) the little circumstance of his cabin-mates 
in Montana losing small valuables from time to time, until at 
last, these things having been invariably found on Mr. Twain's 

378 



RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR 

person or in his "trunk" (newspaper he rolled his traps in), they 
felt compelled to give him a friendly admonition for his own 
good, and so tarred and feathered him, and rode him on a rail, 
and then advised him to leave a permanent vacuum in the place 
he usually occupied in the camp. Will he do this? 

Could anything be more deliberately malicious 
than that ? For I never was in Montana in my life. 

[After this, this journal customarily spoke of me 
as "Twain, the Montana Thief."] 

I got to picking up papers apprehensively 
much as one would lift a desired blanket which he 
had some idea might have a rattlesnake under it. 
One day this met my eye: 

THE LIE NAILED. By the sworn affidavits of Michael 
O'Flanagan, Esq., of the Five Points, and Mr. Snub Rafferty 
and Mr. Catty Mulligan, of Water Street, it is established that 
Mr. Mark Twain's vile statement that the lamented grandfather 
of our noble standard-bearer, Blank J. Blank, was hanged for 
highway robbery, is a brutal and gratuitous LIE, without a shad- 
ow of foundation in fact. It is disheartening to virtuous men 
to see such shameful means resorted to to achieve political suc- 
cess as the attacking of the dead in their graves, and defiling 
their honored names with slander. When we think of the an- 
guish this miserable falsehood must cause the innocent relatives 
and friends of the deceased, we are almost driven to incite an 
outraged and insulted public to summary and unlawful ven- 
geance upon the traducer. But no! let us leave him to the 
agony of a lacerated conscience (though if passion should get 
the better of the public, and in its blind fury they should do the 
traducer bodily injury, it is but too obvious that no jury could 
convict and no court punish the perpetrators of the deed). 

The ingenious closing sentence had the effect of 

moving me out of bed with despatch that night, and 

out at the back door also, while the "outraged and 

insulted public" surged in the front way, breaking 

-x 379 



MARK TWAIN 

furniture and windows in their righteous indignation 
as they came, and taking off such property as they 
could carry when they went. And yet I can lay 
my hand upon the Book and say that I never 
slandered Mr. Blank's grandfather. More: I had 
never even heard of him or mentioned him up to 
that day and date. 

[I will state, in passing, that the journal above 
quoted from always referred to me afterward as 
"Twain, the Body-Snatcher."] 

The next newspaper article that attracted my at- 
tention was the following: 

A SWEET CANDIDATE. Mr. Mark Twain, who was to make 
such a blighting speech at the mass-meeting of the Independents 
last night, didn't come to time! A telegram from his physician 
Btated that he had been knocked down by a runaway team, and 
his leg broken in two places sufferer lying in great agony, and 
so forth, and so forth, and a lot more bosh of the same sort- 
And the Independents tried hard to swallow the wretched subter- 
fuge, and pretend that they did not know what was the real 
reason of the absence of the abandoned creature whom they 
denominate their standard-bearer. A certain man was seen to 
reel into Mr. Twain's hotel last night in a state of beastly intoxi- 
cation. It is the imperative duty of the Independents to prove 
that this besotted brute was not Mark Twain himself. We 
have them at last! This is a case that admits of no shirking. 
The voice of the people demands in thunder tones, "WHO WAS 

THAT MAN?" 

It was incredible, absolutely incredible, for a mo- 
ment, that it was really my name that was coupled 
with this disgraceful suspicion. Three long years 
had passed over my head since I had tasted ale, 
beer, wine, or liquor of any kind. 

[It shows what effect the times were having on 
380 



RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR 

me when I say that I saw myself confidently dubbed 
"Mr. Delirium Tremens Twain" in the next issue 
of that journal without a pang notwithstanding I 
knew that with monotonous fidelity the paper would 
go on calling me so to the very end.] 

By this time anonymous letters were getting to be 
an important part of my mail matter. This form 
was common: 

How about that old woman you kiked of your premises which 
was beging. POL. PRY. 

And this : 

There is things which you have done which is unbeknowens 
to anybody but me. You better trot out a few dols, to yours 
truly, or you'll hear through the papers from 

HANDY ANDY. 

This is about the idea. I could continue them till 
the reader was surfeited, if desirable. 

Shortly the principal Republican journal "con- 
victed" me of wholesale bribery, and the leading 
Democratic paper "nailed" an aggravated case of 
blackmailing to me. 

[In this way I acquired two additional names: 
"Twain the Filthy Corruptionist" and "Twain the 
Loathsome Embracer."] 

By this time there had grown to be such a clamor 
for an "answer" to all the dreadful charges that 
were laid to me that the editors and leaders of my 
party said it would be political ruin for me to re- 
main silent any longer. As if to make their appeal 
the more imperative, the following appeared in one 
of the papers the very next day : 

381 



MARK TWAIN 

BEHOLD THE MAN! The independent candidate still main- 
tains silence. Because he dare not speak. Every accusation 
against him has been amply proved, and they have been indorsed 
and reindorsed by his own eloquent silence, till at this day he 
stands forever convicted. Look upon your candidate, Indepen- 
dents! Look upon the Infamous Perjurer! the Montana Thief! 
the Body-Snatcher! Contemplate your incarnate Delirium 
Tremens! your Filthy Corruptionist! your Loathsome Em- 
bracer! Gaze upon him ponder him well and then say if you 
can give your honest votes to a creature who has earned this 
dismal array of titles by his hideous crimes, and dares not open 
his mouth in denial of any one of them! 

There was no possible way of getting out of it, 
and so, in deep humiliation, I set about preparing to 
"answer" a mass of baseless charges and mean and 
wicked falsehoods. But I never finished the task, 
for the very next morning a paper came out with a 
new horror, a fresh malignity, and seriously charged 
me with burning a lunatic asylum with all its in- 
mates, because it obstructed the view from my house. 
This threw me into a sort of panic. Then came the 
charge of poisoning my uncle to get his property, 
with an imperative demand that the grave should 
be opened. This drove me to the verge of dis- 
traction. On top of this I was accused of employing 
toothless and incompetent old relatives to prepare 
the food for the foundling hospital when I was 
warden. I was wavering wavering. And at last, 
as a due and fitting climax to the shameless perse- 
cution that party rancor had inflicted upon me, nine 
little toddling children, of all shades of color and 
degrees of raggedness, were taught to rush onto the 
platform at a public meeting, and clasp me around 
the legs and call me PA ! 

382 



RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR 

I gave it up. I hauled down my colors and sur- 
rendered. I was not equal to the requirements of a 
Gubernatorial campaign in the state of New York, 
and so I sent in my withdrawal from the candidacy, 
and in bitterness of spirit signed it, "Truly yours, 
once a decent man, but now 
MARK TWAIN, I.P., M.T., B.S., D.T., F.C., and 

L.E," 



A MYSTERIOUS VISIT 

HP HE first notice that was taken of me when I 
1 "settled down" recently was by a gentleman 
who said he was an assessor, and connected with 
the U. S. Internal Revenue Department. I said I 
had never heard of his branch of business before, but 
I was very glad to see him all the same. Would he 
sit down? He sat down. I did not know anything 
particular to say, and yet I felt that people who 
have arrived at the dignity of keeping house must 
be conversational, must be easy and sociable in 
company. So, in default of anything else to say, 
I asked him if he was opening his shop in our neigh- 
borhood. 

He said he was. [I did not wish to appear igno- 
rant, but I had hoped he would mention what he 
had for sale.] 

I ventured to ask him "How was trade?" And 
he said "So-so." 

I then said we would drop in, and if we liked his 
house as well as any other, we would give him our 
custom. 

He said he thought we would like his establish- 
ment well enough to confine ourselves to it said he 
never saw anybody who would go off and hunt up 
another man in his line after trading with him once. 

384 



A MYSTERIOUS: VISIT 

That sounded pretty complacent, but barring that 
natural expression of villainy which we all have, the 
man looked honest enough. 

I do not know how it came about exactly, but 
gradually we appeared to melt down and run to- 
gether, conversationally speaking, and then every- 
thing went along as comfortably as clockwork. 

We talked, and talked, and talked at least I did; 
and we laughed, and laughed, and laughed at least 
he did. But all the time I had my presence of mind 
about me I had my native shrewdness turned on 
"full head," as the engineers say. I was determined 
to find out all about his business in spite of his 
obscure answers and I was determined I would 
have it out of him without his suspecting what I 
was at. I meant to trap him with a deep, deep ruse. 
I would tell him all about my own business, and 
he would naturally so warm to me during this 
seductive burst of confidence that he would forget 
himself, and tell me all about his affairs before he 
suspected what I was about. I thought to myself, 
My son, you little know what an old fox you are 
dealing with. I said: 

"Now you never would guess what I made lectur- 
ing this winter and last spring?" 

"No don't believe I could, to save me. Let 
me see let me see. About two thousand dollars, 
maybe? But no; no, sir, I know you couldn't 
have made that much. Say seventeen hundred, 
maybe?" 

"Ha! ha! I knew you couldn't. My lecturing 
receipts for last spring and this winter were fourteen 

385 



MARK TWAIN 

thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars. What do 
you think of that?" 

"Why, it is amazing perfectly amazing. I will 
make a note of it. And you say even this wasn't all ? " 

"All! Why bless you, there was my income from 
the Daily Warwhoop for four months about about 
well, what should you say to about eight thousand 
dollars, for instance?" 

"Say! Why, I should say I should like to see 
myself rolling in just such another ocean of affluence. 
Eight thousand ! I'll make a note of it. Why man ! 
and on top of all this am I to understand that you 
had still more income?" 

"Ha! ha! ha! Why, you're only in the suburbs 
of it, so to speak. There's my book, The Inno- 
cents Abroad price $3.50 to $5, according to the 
binding. Listen to me. Look me in the eye. 
During the last four months and a half, saying 
nothing of sales before that, but just simply during 
the four months and a half, we've sold ninety-five 
thousand copies of that book. Ninety-five thou- 
sand! Think of it. Average four dollars a copy, 
say. It's nearly four hundred thousand dollars, my 
son. I get half." 

"The suffering Moses! I'll set that down. 
Fourteen-seven-fifty eight two hundred. Total, 
say well, upon my word, the grand total is about 
two hundred and thirteen or fourteen thousand dol- 
lars! Is that possible?" 

"Possible! If there's any mistake it's the other 
way. Two hundred and fourteen thousand, cash, is 
my income for this year if / know how to cipher." 

386 



A MYSTERIOUS VISIT 

Then the gentleman got up to go. It came over 
me most uncomfortably that maybe I had made my 
revelations for nothing, besides being flattered into 
stretching them considerably by the stranger's aston- 
ished exclamations. But no; at the last moment 
the gentleman handed me a large envelope, and said 
it contained his advertisement; and that I would 
find out all about his business in it; and that he 
would be happy to have my custom would, in fact, 
be proud to have the custom of a man of such pro- 
digious income; and that he used to think there 
were several wealthy men in the city, but when they 
came to trade with him he discovered that they 
barely had enough to live on; and that, in truth, it 
had been such a weary, weary age since he had seen 
a rich man face to face, and talked to him, and 
touched him with his hands, that he could hardly 
refrain from embracing me in fact, would esteem it 
a great favor if I would let him embrace me. 

This so pleased me that I did not try to resist, 
but allowed this simple-hearted stranger to throw 
his arms about me and weep a few tranquilizing 
tears down the back of my neck. Then he went his 
way. 

As soon as he was gone I opened his advertise- 
ment. I studied it attentively for four minutes. I 
then called up the cook, and said: 

"Hold me while I faint! Let Marie turn the 
griddle-cakes." 

By and by, when I came to, I sent down to the 
rum-mill on the corner and hired an artist by the 
week to sit up nights and curse that stranger, and 

387 



MARK TWAIN 

give me a lift occasionally in the daytime when I 
came to a hard place. 

Ah, what a miscreant he was! His "advertise- 
ment" was nothing in the world but a wicked tax- 
return a string of impertinent questions about my 
private affairs, occupying the best part of four fools- 
cap pages of fine print questions, I may remark, 
gotten up with such marvelous ingenuity that the 
oldest man in the world couldn't understand what 
the moct of them were driving at questions, too, 
that were calculated to make a man report about 
four times his actual income to keep from swearing 
to a, falsehood. I looked for a loophole, but there 
did not appear to be any. Inquiry No. i covered 
my case as generously and as amply as an umbrella 
could cover an ant-hill : 

What were your profits, during the past year, from any 
trade, business, or vocation, wherever carried on? 

And that inquiry was backed up by thirteen 
others of an equally searching nature, the most 
modest of which required information as to whether 
I had committed any burglary or highway robbery, 
or by any arson or other secret source of emolu- 
ment had acquired property which was not enumer- 
ated in my statement of income as set opposite to 
inquiry No. i. 

It was plain that that stranger had enabled me to 
make a goose of myself. It was very, very plain; 
and so I went out and hired another artist. By 
working on my vanity, the stranger had seduced me 
into declaring an income of two hundred and fourteen 

388 



A MYSTERIOUS VISIT 

thousand dollars. By law, one thousand dollars of 
this was exempt from income tax the only relief I 
could see, and it was only a drop in the ocean. At 
the legal five per cent., I must pay to the govern- 
ment the sum of ten thousand six hundred and fifty 
dollars, income tax! 

[I may remark, in this place, that I did not do it.] 
I am acquainted with a very opulent man, whose 
house is a palace, whose table is regal, whose out- 
lays are enormous, yet a man who has no income, as 
I have often noticed by the revenue returns; and 
to him I went for advice in my distress. He took 
my dreadful exhibition of receipts, he put on his 
glasses, he took his pen, and presto! I was a 
pauper! It was the neatest thing that ever was. 
He did it simply by deftly manipulating the bill of 
"DEDUCTIONS." He set down my "State, national, 
and municipal taxes" at so much; my "losses by 
shipwreck, fire, etc.," at so much; my "losses on 
sales of real estate" on "live stock sold" on 
"payments for rent of homestead" on "repairs, 
improvements, interest" on "previously taxed 
salary as an officer of the United States army, 
navy, revenue service," and other things. He got 
astonishing "deductions" out of each and every 
one of these matters each and every one of them. 
And when he was done he handed me the paper, 
and I saw at a glance that during the year my in- 
come, in the way of profits, had been one thousand 
two hundred and fifty dollars and forty cents. 

"Now," said he, "the thousand dollars is ex- 
empt by law. What you want to do is to go and 

389 



MARK TWAIN 

swear this document in and pay tax on the two hun- 
dred and fifty dollars." 

[While he was making this speech his little boy 
Willie lifted a two-dollar greenback out of his vest 
pocket and vanished with it, and I would wager 
anything that if my stranger were to call on that 
little boy to-morrow he would make a false return 
of his income.] 

"Do you," said I, "do you always work up the 
'deductions' after this fashion in your own case, sir?" 

"Well, I should say so! If it weren't for those 
eleven saving clauses under the head of 'Deductions' 
I should be beggared every year to support this 
hateful and wicked, this extortionate and tyrannical 
government." 

This gentleman stands away up among the very 
best of the solid men of the city the men of moral 
weight, of commercial integrity, of unimpeachable 
social spctlessness and so I bowed to his example. 
I went down to the revenue office, and under the 
accusing eyes of my old visitor I stood up and swore 
to lie after lie, fraud after fraud, villainy after villainy, 
till my soul was coated inches and inches thick with 
perjury, and my self-respect gone for ever and ever. 

But what of it? It is nothing more than thou- 
sands of the richest and proudest, and most re- 
spected, honored, and courted men in America do 
every year. And so I don't care. I am not 
ashamed. I shall simply, for the present, talk little 
and eschew fire-proof gloves, lest I fall into certain 
dreadful habits irrevocably. 

THE END 



University of California 

SOUTHERN REGIONAL LIBRARY FACILITY 

405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1388 

Return this material to the library 

from which it was borrowed. 



DC SOUTHERN REGIONAL LIBRARY FACILITY 




A 001 204 765 o